07/06/2019 - Permalink

Woodside Primary School in Oswestry to mark the 90th birthday of Anne Frank in cherry tree ceremony

Related topics: Children's services / Community / My area / Partner organisations

Children on the School Council at Woodside Primary School, Oswestry will be marking the 90th anniversary of the birth of Anne Frank on Wednesday 12 June 2019 with a special interfaith ceremony, at the cherry tree planted there in 2016 for Holocaust Memorial Day.

The school was chosen by Shropshire Council as the location for the 2016 cherry tree, and holds a ceremony every year, together with Shropshire Council and members of faith communities.

They will be supported by Vince Hunt, local Shropshire Councillor for Oswestry West, and by members of faith communities in Shropshire. The ceremony will take place between 11am and 11.30am.

The school had to postpone the ceremony they were originally due to hold in January, due to inclement weather. Its rearrangement for Wednesday 12 June links in with Anne Frank’s birthday, as the tree bears a plaque with a quote from Anne Frank, and the school has been doing work in preparation for this event. 

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:

“I am delighted that Woodside School has been able to organise a ceremony to focus on Anne Frank and her messages for young people everywhere. In doing so, they will I am sure continue to remember the Holocaust and other genocides, complementing what they and other schools in Shropshire do to mark annual Holocaust Memorial Day, which takes place on 27 January each year.

“The 2019 theme of “Torn from home” is particularly apt for the story of Anne Frank and her family, as well as for the work that we do in Shropshire as a council, because of the role that we play in helping and supporting children and families who are in need. By way of example, we already support a number of Syrian refugee families here in Shropshire, and we will be welcoming more families over the course of this year who have been torn from home in Syria.

“This year has marked the planting of our tenth cherry tree in Shropshire, as we continue to grow an orchard of remembrance across Shropshire. This may not seem like a high number, but each tree represents a community. Each child, as they grow like the tree, is encouraged to think about and reflect upon their roles as members of their families and as members of their school community and the wider community, and the part that they can play in making their world a better place.

“This will mean that things like the Holocaust and other genocides will be less likely to happen. We must never forget about what did happen, and that is why we plant these trees and why we must all strive to be kind to each other and to respect each other’s beliefs.


Vince Hunt said: 

“As I am in the fortunate position of being able to read with children at the school every Friday, I have been able to keep an eye on the tree since helping to plant it in 2016. I have been heartened with the understanding shown by the children here about the importance of the tree and what it means. I am very much looking forward to finding out exactly how tall it has grown since 2016, and I am very pleased that we are able to take this very timely opportunity together to commemorate Anne Frank in this way.

“What she has said remains as true today: ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world’.”


Further information

The background here is that the council is continuing efforts to grow a cherry tree orchard of remembrance across Shropshire, working with primary and secondary schools and inter faith forums and local Shropshire Councillors. We identify a primary school each year, and are seeking to spread the orchard across the county.

The orchard had a growth spurt in 2016, when we were also able to provide for five secondary schools to have trees as well, through the Incredible Edible project running that year. Having begun in the centre in 2015, with Mereside C of E School, we have planted in the north at Woodside Academy in Oswestry,and in the south at Bishop Hooper School in Ashford Carbonell, where a second tree, kindly donated by the South Shropshire Interfaith Forum, had to be planted in 2018 after rabbits ate the first one. The tree for the centre and west of the county was planted at Trinity CofE in Ford in 2018.

This year’s tree was planted at St Peter’s CofE School in Wem, representing the north and east of the county. Next year, a school in the south and west will be chosen, as the council continues efforts to grow an orchard that will eventually cover all points of the compass.

We linked the HMD 2019 theme with the support given in Shropshire to Syrian refugee families making their homes here. The council utilised resources from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust alongside resources developed by Mereside CofE Primary School, including a reading list. All schools were sent details of the resources and the annual theme.

The events were supported by local Jewish author Natalie Cumming, who has written a book called “The Fiddle”, about her family violin. Her aunt Rosa played the violin in three concentration camps (Mauthausen, Auschwitz and Belsen) and was part of the women’s orchestra in each camp. The violin was returned to her after being taken away on her arrival in Auschwitz. Violin maker/restorer John Dilworth restored the violin for a BBC programme The Repair Shop. It has now been donated in perpetuity in memory of her aunt and her father to the Yehudi Menuhin school. The well-known violinist, Chris Garrick, composed a piece especially for the programme called Rosa’s Wishing Waltz.

The Priory School in Shrewsbury, which was one of the five secondary schools that had planted a cherry tree from Shropshire Council in 2016, were also able to organise a visit from Mrs Cumming, with support from Councillor Nic Laurens.

The school is hosting an exhibition of work by the students since the visit from Mrs Cumming, and will be showing this to her, to Councillor Nic Laurens, and to members of the interfaith forums, on Friday 5 July 2019. This will mark completion of events in Shropshire for HMD 2019.

For more information about the 2019 theme, please see resources on the HMD Trust website at www.hmd.org.uk