An Oldham primary school welcomed the local Mayor into their school to celebrate international peace day.
Ss Aidan and Oswald’s RC Primary School is one of the schools in Oldham with a long-standing commitment to promoting peace: personal inner peace, peace in our local community, peace across our country and global peace.
The school is amongst the twenty-six schools and colleges in Oldham to have signed the Pledge to Peace.
For many years with the support of Oldham’s Pledge to Peace Forum, the school has forged strong links with Hiroshima and school communities in Japan. The children of Ss. Aidan and Oswald’s participated in a project to make paper peace cranes to send to Hiroshima in remembrance of the child victims of the atomic bombing. A few months later, the school proudly received paper cranes made by the children of Hiroshima.
In 2017, two Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima) visited Oldham to plant very special seeds which are sourced from the mother trees which survived the blasts despite being near to its epicentre. These seeds have been nurtured in Oldham and have grown into saplings. Ss Aidan and Oswald’s is the first school to receive a sapling.
The whole school community of 350 children and almost 30 staff was delighted and excited to welcome The Worshipful Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Jenny Harrison, and the Mayor's Consort, Councillor Shaid Mushtaq, Cabinet Member for Education, who joined them for a special assembly held outside, prior to a planting of a sapling raised from a seed from Hiroshima.
Also present was the Secretary of The Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, Richard Outram. This was the first assembly to have been held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 18 months ago and was fittingly on Peace Day.
Co-Headteacher Catherine Brogan asked the children to reflect on what peace meant to them and how they could make the world a more peaceful place, before the Mayor and Mr Outram addressed the assembly. The children also sang most beautifully their school peace anthem, May Peace Prevail on Earth (which is titled after the school motto) and The Community Song.
Following the conclusion of the assembly, the guests accompanied Mrs Brogan and pupils Loresa and Alfie for a tour of the school and a visit to the school’s peace garden where the sapling was planted.
During the day, the children enjoyed a different approach to the curriculum as they explored and researched the many aspects of finding and promoting peace. This included activities such as: a peace picnic; prayers for peace; renewing their commitment to the pledge to peace at the school’s peace pole as well as a wide-range of exciting activities.
The Worshipful Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Jenny Harrison made the following comments on her visit to the school:
“Cllr Mushtaq and I were privileged to join St Aidan and Oswald's RC Primary School for their World Peace Day assembly and it was wonderful to learn that they would spend the rest of the day exploring and researching ways of finding and promoting peace.
“We were very happy to visit their beautiful Peace Garden and see the special sapling put in place, a strong symbol and reminder of the need to promote peace”.
Richard Outram, the Secretary of the Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum said: “After a torrid eighteen months, when our peace activities have been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been wonderful to be part of this very special event to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace.
“The children and staff at Ss Aidan’s and Oswald’s have again done us all proud in the cause of peace, and it was our privilege to present to them a very special gift – a tree nurtured from a seed sent to us by our dear friend, the Mayor of Hiroshima.
"This seed was recovered from a tree that somehow survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; it represents a hope that there can be peace within us, and amongst us, if we nurture it.”