School film project receives a helping hand from a duchess

The  Duchess of Northumberland (left) in the Library at Alnwick Castle with the students from King Edward VI School in Morpeth and film crew from Teeside who have been taking part in the BT Big Voice competition. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 12, 2011. Photo credit should read: Tom Buist/PA Wire
The Duchess of Northumberland (left) in the Library at Alnwick Castle with the students from King Edward VI School in Morpeth and film crew from Teeside who have been taking part in the BT Big Voice competition. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 12, 2011. Photo credit should read: Tom Buist/PA Wire
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A MORPETH school’s big screen project received a helping hand from the Duchess of Northumberland.

The Duchess was interviewed by a team of pupils from King Edward VI school as part of their film looking at what they have done to bring the town’s community together.

They won £1,000 and production support from students at Teesside University to make a documentary following a successful application to BT’s Big Voice competition.

The theme of the events featured in the 10-minute film is bridging the gap between pupils and Morpeth’s elderly residents.

Among them was the re-dedication of the school’s War Memorial, which was attended by veterans from the Edwardian’s Association, senior personnel from SSAFA Forces Help and the armed forces and representatives from Morpeth Town Council and Northumberland County Council.

A charity dinner was held for SSAFA Forces Help, of which the Duchess is president, a few days later in the Town Hall.

A 1940s event took place at the same venue. Pupils brought items, photographs and documents from the school archives to the exhibition, played a range of hits from the decade, sold 1940s arts, crafts and recipes they produced themselves and dressed in clothing and uniforms that were common 70 years ago.

This and other winning films will be screened on a giant London 2012 Live Site screen in Centre Square, Middlesbrough, this spring.

KEVI Head of Student Voice, Leadership and Enrichment Victoria Najafi said: “The pupils have learned a great deal in this project about the importance of communication, how to organise major events and that the so called gap between generations doesn’t have to exist.

“They have really enjoyed the filming, which included some 1940s scenes with John Sadler of the Time Bandits group to show some of the communications equipment and weapons used during the period. The film also includes interviews with adults, who have explained how much the events and activities have benefited the community.

“It was a fantastic experience for the students to go up to Alnwick Castle and speak to the Duchess in depth about the project. She was very supportive and said that she couldn’t recall a school doing so much to bridge the generation gap.

“Everyone involved is looking forward to seeing the finished product on the big screen in Middlesbrough and the national winners will be shown in London during the Olympic Games so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Final filming took place this week, with the interviewees including town Mayor Phil Taylor, Morpeth Antiquarian Frank Robinson and Northumbrian Gathering Committee Chair Kim Bibby-Wilson, who spoke about the contribution made by KEVI students to the festival each year.

Also included in the film is the school’s involvement in the regional Phoenix Project, led by Digital Community Youth, where they did detailed research into 1960s culture.

Big Voice was created by BT as part of its Education Programme supporting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.