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Mytholmroyd Beavers

Men of Mytholmroyd war memorial before and after works © Calderdale Council, 2009 & A Holdsworth, 2012
  • County name: West Yorkshire
  • Group/School name: Mytholmroyd Beavers
  • Age group:
  • Group type: Beavers: Youth Group (6 - 8)

In the lead up to Remembrance Day 2018, War Memorials Trust’s Learning Officer visited one of the primary schools in Mytholmroyd.  Through this, the opportunity arose to visit the local beaver group as well.  The session with the beavers focused on Remembrance Day, war memorials and the history of the war memorial in Mytholmroyd.  This was all to help the beavers have a better understanding of the Remembrance Day and its significance.

The session began with the beavers being asked to think about what special days they celebrate and share with their family and friends.  They came up with a real range of suggestions including Remembrance Day.  They were able to identify traditions which occur on Remembrance Day including the 2 minute silence, wearing poppies and attending a service at war memorial.

This then led on to a discussion around what war memorials are.  The beavers were able to look at photographs  of a range of war memorials to help them consider this.  Once the definition had been clarified some local war memorials were shown including Men of Mytholmroyd Urban District and Hebden Bridge memorial stone and garden.  Following this the beavers found out how many war memorials there are in the UK and when war memorials were created.  This also provided an opportunity to highlight that the First World War ended 100 years ago this Remembrance Sunday.  The impact of the First World War and the subsequent wave of memorialisation was then touched upon.  Beavers were told the story of two soldiers from Mytholmroyd who were buried in France and Greece to help explain that the fallen were not repatriated.

After a short break, the story of Mytholmroyd war memorial was shared with the beavers including the date when it was unveiled.  They were then given two images (pictured) and asked to spot the difference.  The beavers quickly spotted that the heads in the two images were very different.  Local resident, Jade Smith, who was involved in the works which were carried out on the war memorial in 2009 then spoke to the beavers.  She was able to explain that the original head had been stolen in the year 2000 a few days before Remembrance Day.  A local sculptor created a stylised head to replace the original.   Whilst the works were carried out in 2009, an artist was asked to create a new head which was more in keeping with the original design.  This is the head which can be seen on the memorial today.  Jade has the maquette of the newer head and was able to show this to the beavers.

It was a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group of young people who demonstrated that they felt a real connection with their local war memorial.  Hopefully some of the information they learnt during the session will remain with them for years to come and even inspire some of them to become war memorial custodians of the future.

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