by Lily Chick
ST ANNE’S Lydgate has become just the fifth school in Saddleworth to sign the Pledge to Peace.
The Pledge is a European project which aims to promote the development of peace education to enhance the wellbeing of people.
It is being promoted across the borough by the Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, which is encouraging local civic, community and faith organisations, as well as schools, to sign.
The ceremony at St Anne’s saw 210 pupils gather in the school assembly hall for the special event, presented by headteacher Mrs Fraser who was accompanied by the Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Derek Heffernan.
The assembly began with a hymn called ‘Peace Perfect Peace’ which was very relevant to the signing of the Pledge to Peace.
The Mayor, who is the first and only Mayor of Peace in the country, spoke to the children about the importance of peace, and stated: “Let us spread the word of peace.
“People only talk about war but we want to talk about peace. Religion should be a weapon of peace, not war.”
The Mayor reiterated the idea that the children should learn peace is not about always agreeing with one another, adding: “You can disagree but you don’t have to fight. Especially with your mum!”
A short story called ‘The lion that thought he was a sheep’ was shown in the form of a video, telling the children that you have to believe in and understand who you are, followed by a hymn.
The children were then given the opportunity to ask the Mayor some questions and many of them, even from the youngest children, were very insightful and challenging.
One child asked: “What qualities do you have to have to be a Mayor?” to which the Mayor replied: “You must be able to get along with everybody, enjoy meeting new people and be able to sell Oldham as the great town that it is.”
Another asked: “If everyone valued peace would the world be a better place?” to which the Mayor answered: “If everyone believes and spreads the word of peace, the world will be a better place.”
Three pupils from Year 5 read a poem about peace before the assembly was rounded off with a final hymn.
Speaking after the event, headteacher Mrs Fraser explained why they decided to sign the Pledge and what their plans are for the future.
She said: “As we are a Christian school we thought this peace movement was very important to us and our faith.
“We are involved in other peace movements such as the international peace day and we have our own peace garden which the children were instrumental in designing.”
She added: “Each pupil is going to do their own pledge and we have peace ambassadors throughout the year groups that will help drive the movement along.”
The other schools in Saddleworth which have signed the Pledge are: St Mary’s, Greenfield; St Chad’s, Uppermill; Knowsley Junior School, Springhead; and Saddleworth School.
Richard Outram, secretary for the Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, said: “It was wonderful to witness another school in our borough signing the Pledge to Peace.
“With forty signatory organisations working together for peace, led by our first Mayor of Peace, Oldham is being increasingly seen as a dynamic Borough of Peace internationally.
“I look forward to welcoming many more local organisations as signatories in the coming months.”
Any local civic, community and faith organisations or schools who want to find out more and sign the Pledge to Peace should contact Richard Outram, by email: email@example.com or call: 07583 097793.