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[margin10]Valley Road School’s year three class attended the ‘Lest We Forget’ exhibition at Trinity Church on Tuesday. All of the displayed exhibits were items of Mike Willoughby’s archive, and Mr Willoughby himself was present at the exhibition, providing the children with a background history to World War I whilst dressed to the nines in replica WW1 Tommy’s uniform. The class were held in awe as Mr Willoughby demonstrated various guns, most notably when he unsheathed a bayonette and attached it to a rifle there was a gasp of excitement amongst the young viewers.
Students Oscar and Piers exhibited their new found knowledge when they were able to differentiate between the Nazi and the British figurines on a model battle field from their helmets. The extensive collection of photos and mock weapons, as well as a trench of sand bags and wicker, really engaged the children’s imagination, with some even considering the war’s outcome if there had been lasers around like in Star Trek.
A map pinpointing the homes of the 225 Henley men who died in the war made a great impression on the children as they were able to understand the significant loss their local community had suffered. When asked what their favourite exhibit was, many of the children said the guns, but student Allysha preferred the medals saying, “Because people earned them, they’re so special’. A very apt conclusion to Mr Wiloughby’s efforts which he would be really proud of.