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Richmond School service students show artwork at parliament

Richmond School service students and Stephen Birdsall
Richmond School service students and Stephen Birdsall

AWARD-winning artwork created by a group of service students from Richmond School and Sixth Form College has been displayed in the Houses of Parliament.

The students’ stunning artwork was crowned a winner in the ‘Month of the Military Child’ design competition, a national event organised by the charity Never Such Innocence which included submissions of poetry, music and artwork.

Six of the students, from Years 8 to 10, were invited to the Ministry of Defence HQ in Whitehall where copies of the work from all the 2022 competition entrees were exhibited for general viewing by military personnel and visitors.

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The students’ artwork was hung proudly in the centre of the display and Katie Salari, chief operating officer of Never Such Innocence, spoke about the significance of the event, introduced the artwork and allowed the category winners to speak about their creations.

Izzy Barnes, in Year 8, spoke on behalf of the Richmond group about their submission to the competition.

Izzy said the inspiration for their artwork was the dandelion and she described how the students used cutting tools and lino tiles to create their beautiful piece of artwork.

The dandelion is the flower of the service child and dandelions put down roots almost anywhere they grow, and it's almost impossible to destroy.

The second half of the event took place at the Houses of Parliament. Students celebrated through a powerful and moving presentation of work created by students across the United Kingdom. Entrees had travelled from far and wide and students from other primary and secondary schools read their poetry, sang their original songs and the original competition artwork was hung in Parliament for MPs and guests to view.

There were many guest speakers at the event who each took a turn to speak passionately about conflict and the importance of the voice of a military child and such competitions that they have subsequently entered.

After the celebration and sharing of the artwork the students enjoyed a tour of the Houses of Parliament which included an exciting live-televised viewing of a debate in the House of Commons which the students watched from the viewing gallery.

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To conclude the visit, the students had a stroll along Southbank past the London Eye where they stopped for a scenic lunch break before heading back north.

Mr Birdsall, service children’s advocate said "The students were great ambassadors for the school and college. It was such a lovely poignant day hearing the views and voices of our young students on their personal thoughts on conflict and how it affects them individually.

"I was incredibly proud of the superb artwork the students had created, it was an honour to accompany them and share the amazing experience with them."