PRIMARY school pupils in Royton have strengthened their commitment to supporting peace with their latest project.

Some years ago youngsters at SS Aidan and Oswald’s RC Primary School made paper peace cranes which were sent to Hiroshima in Japan in remembrance of the child victims of the atomic bomb that devastated the city on August 6, 1945 towards the end of the Second World War.

In return, a few months later, the school received paper cranes made by children in Hiroshima.

Then in 2017, two Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima) visited Oldham to plant very special seeds which are sourced from the mother trees which survived the blasts despite being near to its epicentre.

These seeds have been nurtured in Oldham and have grown into saplings.

And SS Aidan and Oswald’s is the first school to receive a sapling.

The school community of 350 children and almost 30 staff welcomed Oldham mayor, Cllr Jenny Harrison, her consort, Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, who is the council's cabinet member for education, for a special outside assembly, prior to a planting of a sapling raised from a seed from Hiroshima.

Also present was the secretary of The Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, Richard Outram.

This was the first assembly to have been held since the start of the pandemic, and was fittingly on International Peace Day.

Co-head teacher Catherine Brogan asked the children to reflect on what peace meant to them and how they could make the world a more peaceful place, before the mayor and Mr Outram addressed the assembly.

The children also sang their school peace anthem, May Peace Prevail on Earth (which is titled after the school motto) and The Community Song.

After the assembly, the guests accompanied Mrs Brogan and pupils for a tour of the school and a visit to the school’s peace garden where the sapling was planted.

During the day, the children enjoyed a different approach to the curriculum as they explored and researched the many aspects of finding and promoting peace.

This included activities such as a peace picnic, prayers for peace, renewing their commitment to the pledge to peace at the school’s peace pole as well as a wide-range of exciting activities.

Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Harrison said: “Cllr Mushtaq and I were privileged to join SS Aidan and Oswald's RC Primary School for their World Peace Day assembly and it was wonderful to learn that they would spend the rest of the day exploring and researching ways of finding and promoting peace.

“We were very happy to visit their beautiful Peace Garden and see the special sapling put in place, a strong symbol and reminder of the need to promote peace."

The school is among the 26 schools and colleges in Oldham to have signed the Pledge to Peace.

Mr Outram said: “After a torrid eighteen months, when our peace activities have been on hold because of the pandemic, it has been wonderful to be part of this very special event to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace.

“The children and staff at Ss Aidan’s and Oswald’s have again done us all proud in the cause of peace, and it was our privilege to present to them a very special gift – a tree nurtured from a seed sent to us by our dear friend, the Mayor of Hiroshima.

"This seed was recovered from a tree that somehow survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; it represents a hope that there can be peace within us, and amongst us, if we nurture it.”