West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds unites for Remembrance with representatives from armed forces, Honington schoolchildren and West Suffolk Council
West Suffolk College fell silent for its own Remembrance tribute yesterday in front of a large backdrop created by carpentry students.
The occasion, at the Built Environment Campus in Bury St Edmunds, started with a welcome from Debbie Coomes, assistant principal of the college.
Students from Honington Primary School then sang the hymn, Peace, Perfect Peace. Public service learners from the college and staff read out poems and tributes.
The last post was played by representatives from the Boys Brigade (John Heare and Bruce Day) and a two minutes’ silence was respected in front of a 12m by 4m tribute created by carpentry students, depicting iconic planes that were used in World War II.
After the silence a musical tribute from the college Conservatoire East choir called AMADO concluded proceedings.
Various members of the armed forces were in attendance including representatives from Honington and The Royal British Legion (RBL).
Debbie Coomes said: “I’m extremely proud of our students and a huge thank you to everyone involved. I feel as proud as punch. It’s important we never forget.”
Carpentry lecturer Brian Tunbridge, who helped co-ordinate the event, said: “I have connections to the forces through my family history and that is why it is an honour and privilege to always respectfully remember the fallen.”
One of the students who took a lead role in the creation of the plane design is Rion Lewis, 22, from Bury.
The carpentry and joinery student was presented with a ‘certificate of recognition’ by Lieutenant-Colonel Alex Laws for his efforts.
Rion said: “The ceremony went very well. Next year there will be a focus on the navy in terms of our display so I hope to get involved in that. Getting the certificate was a nice surprise.”
Rion’s mum Laura Lewis was also in attendance. Her father (and Rion’s grandfather) did basic training with the Scottish Black Watch, before being deployed by the Royal Artillery and helped liberate Bergen Bolsen camp in 1945 at the age of 16.
Laura said: “I’m so proud of Rion. Remembrance keeps me connected to the past - it keeps the love alive.”
Two students from Honington Primary School also spoke about their participation in this event.
On Armistice, Annie, six, from the primary school, said: “I enjoyed singing the song (Peace, Perfect Peace).”
Milo, six, also from the primary school, said: “It’s about remembering the people who looked after us.”
Another attendee was Clive Penton who was representing the RAF Association in Stowmarket. He said: “I joined the RAF in the late fifties. During Remembrance I think of the people I served with, my comrades and companions. I lost one or two over the years. It (Remembrance) is a memory of everyone.”
West Suffolk Council chairman, Cllr Roger Dicker, was at the ceremony. He said: “I was grateful to be invited to see what the students created. It was a very moving service. It makes me feel very proud.”
West Suffolk College also worked with Bosmere Community Primary School in Needham Market to create a display with children that is situated outside the educational establishment’s front gates and public service students are working with the Royal British Legion (RBL) in and around Bury to raise funds for this benevolent cause.
Former student Agnieszka Procajlo presented the college with a painting that she had created based on a World War I display that students created in 2022.
In terms of this presentation, Debbie Coomes added: “A huge thank you to Agnieszka for gifting us this fabulous painting.”
Elsewhere across the Eastern Education Group, One, in Ipswich, and Abbeygate Sixth Form College, in Bury, will be having a two minutes’ silence at 11am tomorrow. University Studies at West Suffolk College will also be doing the same.
Morgan Sindall, Brewers Decorator Services, BLC Construction Supplies and Anglian provided time and materials to help the college create the RAF plane display.