The dramatic new Wing building at the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust’s clifftop home at Capel-le-Ferne will play a vital role in educating young people about the events of 1940 when it opens in early 2015.
The Wing, now being built at the National Memorial to the Few, just outside Folkestone, will be both an interactive visitor ‘experience’ and an educational resource open to local schools and youth groups.
With the last of the men Churchill referred to as “the Few” now in increasingly poor health, the Trust recognised a few years ago that it needed to find a new way to engage with young people and make sure they understood the significance of the Battle of Britain.
“Up until the 70th anniversary in 2010, the veterans themselves kept the story alive by recounting their tales,” commented Trust chairman Richard Hunting CBE.
“We realised then, though, that we could not rely on increasingly elderly gentlemen to tell their stories and that we needed another way to reach a young audience, in particular.”
The answer was The Wing, which will use high-tech audio-visual effects in an attempt to show what it was like to fight in the Battle and which has received the wholehearted support of the remaining members of the Few.
While the experience will take up one half of the Spitfire wing-shaped building, the other will house a classroom area where students and schoolchildren will be able to follow up on their visit to the experience by learning more about the Battle.
The Trust is planning to have an educational package in place by the late spring or early summer and is looking for support from former teachers or those with a particular interest in the Battle of Britain.
“We aren’t planning to create just an empty space, and we don’t expect the teachers in charge of the groups to take the sessions,” explained Richard Hunting. “We want to provide a full resource, but we need help to do that. We would like to hear from volunteers who would like to work with the Trust to educate young people about what was arguably the most important battle fought by this country in the whole of the last century.
“The Trust is a charity and so we would be looking essentially for volunteers, but we think this could be a fascinating and rewarding role for the right person – possibly a retired teacher.”
For an informal chat about helping the Trust in this way, please contact secretary Patrick Tootal on 01732 870809.