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Heritage Lottery Logo 




Southend Boys' and Girls' Choirs have been awarded a heritage lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £10,000 for a project to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.  The project, Never Forget, will work with four schools across Essex to create a final piece of music that will be played at a concert in November.


Thanks to National Lottery players, Southend Choirs will work with schools in Southend and Basildon to explore the First World War and its impact on the local people of South Essex through poetry, literature, music, family history and creative writing.  The project will focus specifically on the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history with over 1 million men wounded or killed.


Working with two artists, photographer Alan Hockett and drama and creative writing specialist Jo Melville and a historian, Christopher Langdon, four schools will take part in workshops to discover the connections between where they live, their families and the First World War, creating Rolls of Honour for the fallen, biographies of individuals and writing poetry and epitaphs in response to their discoveries.


The schools involved are St Anne Line Junior School, Basildon, The St Christopher School Academy Trust, Leigh on Sea, St Mary's Prittlewell C of E Primary School and Great Wakering Primary School.


The students will contribute lines of poetry to a new oratorio to be written by Southend Choirs conductor Roger Humphrey. The libretto and score will be published allowing free access to the piece for future performances.  There will also be an exhibition of the work the students produce at Westcliff High School for Boys in the evening of Saturday 12th November, when the new work will be performed by many of the participants for the first time.



choir in rehearsal.


Artists Jo Melville and Alan Hockett and historian Chris Langdon had a great time running workshops for students at St Christopher School. The students learnt to march with Chris who wore First World War uniform to show them how the soldiers looked.




Jo and Alan explored feelings and thoughts of the soldiers to encourage some creative writing.



photos from St Christopher School Academy Trust of one of the Never Forget workshops.


The school enjoyed the project so much they have invited the other three schools involved to visit them for an assembly to sing some of the First World War songs they have learned.



St Christopher School Academy, Leigh



St Mary's, Prittlewell C of E Primary School 



Great Wakering Primary School   



 St Anne Line Junior School, Basildon


We are delighted to have worked with amazing students from four local schools on our Never Forget project:

The St Christopher School Academy, Leigh-on-Sea, St Mary’s Prittlewell C of E Primary School, Great Wakering Primary School and St Anne Line Junior School, Basildon.

These are the wonderful flags they designed in workshops with our great creative team: Alan Hockett, Jo Melville and Chris Langdon.

Rehearsals have been going brilliantly and our conductor Roger Humphrey has produced a moving and powerful new work to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.



Never Forget performed at Westcliff High School for Boys on Sat 12th November with Southend Choral Society, Rayleigh Brass and the children of The St Christopher School Academy, Leigh-on-Sea, St Mary’s Prittlewell C of E Primary School, Great Wakering Primary School and St Anne Line Junior School, Basildon.


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