November 13, 2019
Northern Education Trust Red House Academy held a very special Remembrance Assembly this week, in honour of former student Michael Tench, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2007, aged 18.
As well as invited guests from local care homes for the elderly, Michael’s mum, Janice Proctor, attended the whole-school assembly, which included contributions from teachers, students, the choir and students who are cadets in local detachments. The cadets, in full uniform, laid a wreath at a memorial for Michael, which will now be located permanently within the Academy. Students gave readings and some who had taken part in a trip to the WW1 Battlefields last year spoke of their experiences there, including one student who had visited the grave of his Great Great Grandfather – the first member of his family to do so.
Of particular poignancy during the ceremony was the placement of the “there but not there” silhouettes amongst the seated students. The silhouettes were provided by the Armed Forces Covenant, and represent the soldiers who never returned from war.
Following the assembly, the whole school and guests moved to the yard to watch the cadets march in. Joe Beattie from the Salvation Army played the last post, followed by a two-minute silence, which was ended with the Reveille.
Mrs Proctor found the morning hard, but was glad she had attended. She spoke of Michael with great warmth and proudness, telling staff of their close relationship, the sports activities and fun things they used to do together, and how determined she was to keep his memory alive. She said “It’s been a long road and there’s been some very dark moments. At first I was dead to reality, but alive to Michael. It’s so important to remember ALL the fallen. This was a very poignant service and very moving, and I’m honoured that the Academy have decided to present a trophy each year in Michael’s name, awarded for extreme courage and bravery. A huge thank you to each and everyone involved”.