Centenary celebrations in Chesterfield
More than 400 school children came together to celebrate the centenary of the Treaty of Versailles on the 28 June.
The event, organised by Chesterfield Borough Council in collaboration with the Combined Ex-Services Association, saw the group meet at the Town Hall War Memorial to take part in a short service, followed by a walk down to Queen’s Park where the pupils took part in a range of activities all themed around the Treaty of Versailles and life during the war years.
All of the pupils are in Years 5 and 6 at Abercrombie Primary School; Cavendish Junior School; Hady Primary School; Hasland Junior School; Holme Hall Primary School; Mary Swanwick Community Primary School; New Whittington Community Primary School; Norbriggs Primary School; Old Hall Junior School and Staveley Junior School.
The children were joined by teachers, many of whom commented the importance of educating young people about the Treaty of Versailles which officially ended the First World War.
The 28th June marked 100 years since the treaty was signed, officially ending the conflict and returning Chesterfield to a time of peace. Scenes of thanksgiving were witnessed around the country including in our own Queen’s Park where over 20,000 people joined together to celebrate the war finally being over.
To mark this occasion, the World War One Commemorations Working Group recreated the atmosphere of the war being over, and invited everyone attending to join them for a thanksgiving celebration in the same park that had been the scene of the celebrations 100 years ago to the day.
Councillor Jill Mannion-Brunt, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The Treaty of Versailles, signed in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, officially brought World War One to an end. Unfortunately another world war was to occur just 20 years later.
“World War One took the lives of over 16 million people, both military and civilian. It continues to affect people’s lives and memories with over 280,000 British and Commonwealth soldier’s bodies yet to be recovered. Engaging our young people in this event will hopefully encourage a generation to pursue peace at all costs”.
The event began with a multi-faith Drumhead Service at the Town Hall War Memorial at 11am. This was followed by a short march to the park where the children enjoyed their picnics, and explored displays and exhibitions about life between from 1914 to 1918.
Local history and community groups hosted the stalls in the park, with many of the activities being hands-on to encourage the children to ask questions and want to learn more about what happened 100 years ago.