Menston WW1 trip to Flanders; St Mary’s Menston pupils make 8th visit to South Africa in school’s 50th year; Menston films project on hold

St Mary's Menston pupil Olivia Leonard with a Zulu child

St Mary’s Menston pupil Olivia Leonard with a Zulu child

Judith Knaggs and Dale Smith are asking for possible interest in visiting WW1 sites in Belgium in 2015; St Mary’s pupils make their 8th trip to South Africa in the school’s 50th year; Menston films project on back burner for the moment. Click any link below to go to more information, or just scroll down.

Menston visit to WW1 battlefields and graves

Poppy1Judith Knaggs and Dale Smith, who are leading organisation of Menston’s commemorations of the First World War, are asking for expressions of interest in a trip to Flanders and Northern France in September 2015. They stress that this is not a request for a firm commitment but just an indication of interest so that likely numbers can be assessed. The intention is to make a 5 day trip with Dalesman Coaches, beginning on Sunday 13 September 2015, to visit a number of cemeteries where men from Menston who fought in WW1 are buried and also visit some of the battlefields, eg the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Arras and Passschendale. The cost is £599 per person which will include coach and ferry travel from Menston via Hull and Zeebrugge, hotel accommodation and entrance to museums. Single rooms will have a supplementary charge.

Interest, including possible numbers in your party, should be communicated either to Judith or Dale, email Judith at david@timewarpband.co.uk or Dale at dale.smith@bradford.gov.uk. All messages will be acknowledged.

St Mary’s make eighth South Africa project visit in school’s 50th year

This year St Mary’s Menston will be celebrating 50 years of providing education in Menston, having opened its doors to pupils in 1964. Celebrations begin in with an Open Day and a garden party for former pupils in October and continue throughout the next academic year. Go to the programme on the school website for more details including how to book to attend a garden party and an anniversary ball.

David Geldart presenting Minister Counsellor, Dumisani Ntuli with a painting from one of St Mary's students, Sara Riley, which symbolises the work of the Bambisanani Partnership,at a Leeds Civic Reception to celebrate the 'Life and Legacy' of Nelson Mandela

David Geldart presenting Minister Counsellor, Dumisani Ntuli with a painting from one of St Mary’s students, Sara Riley, which symbolises the work of the Bambisanani Partnership, at a Leeds Civic Reception to celebrate the ‘Life and Legacy’ of Nelson Mandela.

This 50th year saw the eighth visit to South Africa by a team of pupils as part of the internationally acclaimed Bambisanani (a Zulu word meaning ‘working hand in hand’) project with a high school in one of the most deprived areas in S Africa, with one in three adults infected by HIV/AIDS, 90% unemployment and an adult illiteracy rate greater than 60%. The school serves a vast area and many students walk two hours to and from school each day. The full story can be read in an excellent article written by the project’s founder, Assistant Headmaster David Geldart.

In June this year fourteen Sixth Form students, three members of staff and a business sponsor, visited Mnyakanya School in the Nkandla region of Kwa Zulu Natal to develop the collaborative work between the two schools and wider community, which is referred to as the Bambisanani Partnership. The Bambisanani Partnership uses sport as a catalyst to promote education, leadership, health and global understanding.

This visit was led by physical education teacher Barbara Pounder, supported by Catherine Chattoe and Giles Wilkes from St. Mary’s and Roisin Serridge from Cardinal Maritime, one of a number of business sponsors of the partnership.

St Mary's Menston pupils and teachers at the Bambisanani Partnership school in South Africa

St Mary’s Menston pupils at the Bambisanani Parnership school in South Africa

The students were: Beth Cotton, Anna Evans, Myles Hanlon, Megan Haskins, Helena Hunt, Megan Ireton-Bourke, Olivia Leonard, James Smith, Emily Sutcliffe, Eleanor Thompson, Beth Tindall, Caroline Turnbull, Karl Verspyck and Jonathan Vincent.

St Mary's Menston pupils Bethany Tindall and Eleanor Thompson in the classroom with Zulu children

St Mary’s Menston pupils Bethany Tindall and Eleanor Thompson in the classroom with Zulu children

An important aspect of this year’s visit was to consolidate the relationship with the well-resourced and highly successful Eshowe High School, situated approximately an hour away from Mnyakanya. To that end, five students from Eshowe were invited to join the Bambisanani Leadership Programme for the week with St. Mary’s and Mnyakanya students. During the visit, St. Mary’s students, supported by Eshowe students, mentored twenty Mnyakanya students through the Bambisanani Leadership Course. An aspect of the course was for students from all three schools to jointly organise and deliver a Cricket, Rugby and Rounders Festival as well as a Reading Festival for eighty four children from Ntolwane Primary School.

Awards

A number of very special annual awards were also presented at an assembly in memory of two young men that have died in recent years. Four years ago, Laurie McCauley from Otley sadly died. Laurie was passionate about sport and literature and his family donated two special awards in these areas to be presented annually at Mnyakanya School to support the partnership. The awards are referred to as ‘Laurie’s Legacy’ and this year the Most Improved Footballer Award was won by Sikhakhane Sanela Steve and the Creative Writing Award by Zitha Nomvelo. At the ceremony, Zitha said: “It is a great honour to win this special award. Laurie’s awards inspire learners at Mnyakanya”.

Another annual award was also presented in memory of Sbonelo Magwaza, a Mnyakanya student who also died three years ago. Sbonelo was an outstanding young leader who, a year before his death, had successfully completed the Bambisanani Leadership Award. In tribute to Sbonelo, each school now presents an annual Sbonelo Magwaza Award for Outstanding Leadership. The award this year was won by Shange Siphesihle. Two other awards were introduced this year.

A first for South African partner school

As a result of links with St. Mary’s, this year Mnyakanya School became the first school in South Africa to be accepted into the John Paul II Foundation for Sport. The Foundation presented Mnyakanya with special awards for “Helping Others Achieve Their Potential” and “The True Spirit of Sport”. These were won by Mzobe Zothani and Shandu Nondumiso respectively.

Menston films

The project to bring regular film shows to Menston has had to be ‘put on the back burner’ by proposer Roger Livesey, unless someone is willing to move it forward, due to health problems. The amount he can do, and mobility, is limited so he has had to restrict involvement in various village projects, one of which is the ‘Teaching grandmother – from eggs to iPads’ for which he is trying to keep the impetus going.

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