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Pledge to Peace – CND Education’s visit St Gregory’s High School

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Posted by Anne Daybell | Published in News, Warrington, Warrington News
  • St-Gregory
25Jul

Since announcing the campaign to make Warrington a ‘Pledge to Peace’ Town more evidence of the awareness of Peace projects.

The former Mayor of Warrington, Geoff Settle, received a phone call from a locally based CND educational ambassador who had read about the Pledge to Peace. He invited Geoff to join him at St Gregory’s and see his presentation at the year 9 assembly and subsequent work shop.
During assembly Mrs Sherrington who had arranged the visit introduced the speaker and mentioned that they peace, consequences of war, hate, discrimination etc. had all been studied in their recent community week.  
She said “Your visit is very timely and we look forward to an interesting morning. Peace is an integral part of the St Gregory’s ethos in so many ways”.
The assembly consisted of a presentation interspersed with a collection of videos and a quiz.
Did you know for example the new Trident system will cost at least £200 billion, only 9 countries have the nuclear capability and that approximately 210,000 people were killed and wounded in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Nuclear bomb explosion and resulting radioactive contamination. The death toll was more than the 207,000 population of Warrington.
Geoff said “I was very impressed by the structure and content of today’s delivery.
I hadn’t known quite what to expect. I remember the CND marches and protests of old but this wasn’t a propaganda exercise it was simply an exchange of information and we all learnt a great deal from the experience.”
The final activity of the morning was a work shop that included a team quiz, a video about a young Japanese girl called Sadako Sasaki and an exercise in making an origami crane.
Sadako had been a 2-year-old when the blast occurred. She had been thrown through a window but survived apparently unhurt. However, ten years later she developed swellings on her neck and behind her ears and purple-colored spots formed on her legs. She was diagnosed with acute malignant lymph gland leukemia directly attributable to the radiation.
Whilst in hospital she was told of an ancient Japanese legend which promised that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. Her wish was to run again and recover from illness. She tried very hard to complete her goal but only reached 644 before she died the rest were completed by her friends.
In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.  At the foot of the statue is a plaque that reads: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.”
At the end of the workshop Geoff was invited to speak briefly about Warrington’s Pledge to Peace campaign. He said, “I congratulated everyone on their great flock of Origami Cranes, I told the class that they had all done very well much better than mine and I held up my droopy model!  I told them that they are the future, the next generation and hopefully the information that they had been presented to them had given them a great deal to think about.  I will be writing to the school to see if they would like to participate and become Warrington’s first Pledge to Peace school.”
As Geoff left he noticed a large dove on the wall next to the school entrance with the inscription “Peace begins with you and me. Our Peace Dove 2013.”
It was constructed out of hundreds (maybe a thousand) small wooden plaques each with a message of peace written by a pupil.
The peace educational ambassador said he would like to hear from any other schools that who would like him to visit. He asked that enquiries be directed to the CND Peace Educational contact co-ordinator, Owen Everett who handles all the bookings from schools and colleges within England email peaceeducation@cnduk.org or telephone 020 7700 2393. he has recently visited the Peace Centre and Birchwood High School.
For more information about the Pledge to Peace please contact Geoff Settle via settlegfs@gmail.co.uk.

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