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France and Belgium 2022

26th - 30th September 2022

England, France and Belgium

This was our 4th bi-annual residential to France and Belgium attended by the majority of children in Years 5 and 6. Children who prefer not to come along also had a French themed week back in school with outdoor lessons, Forest School, Chocolate making and food tasting led by Mrs Hall. 

The purpose of this trip is to work on our French, to experience some French culture and traditions, develop our knowledge of peace and conflict with WW1 and 2 history, to work on our self-confidence, team work and other character strengths. We also have a great time together. 

Day One. On our way over land and sea. (Monday) 

Day Two. Tuesday was all about the history and remembering those who died on both sides in World War One. 

Tyne Cot and Langemark cemeteries (Tuesday morning and afternoon)

Tyne Cot is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world. As well as the graves of the fallen there is a memorial with the names of the missing. 11,961 are buried hereof which 8373 are unknown soldiers. 33,783 are listed on the Memorial To The Missing. Three recipients of The Victoria Cross are here and we had a look at one of their graves and also spotted some Jewish graves with Hebrew writing and stones along the top.

Langemark is the German cemetery and is a strong contrast to Tyne Cot. More than 44,000 are buried here in mass graves including one grave with 25,000 soldiers near the entrance. 

We were very impressed with the respect shown at both cemetaries. 

Passchendaele Museum (Tuesday morning) 

This museum is devoted to the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917 where in only 100 days, 500,000 men died. The museum is housed in Chateau Zonnebeke with it's now peaceful and beautiful grounds. There were many interesting and interactive exhibits, a film about how the front line kept changing, an indoor dug out recreation and outside trenches to explore. We were all in our groups throughout the museum so lots of photos from the group leaders. 

Our Act Of Remembrance at the Menin Gate. (Tuesday afternoon) 

The Menin Gate is a memorial to Commonwealth forces in Ypres. It is the area of the town which marks the starting point which lead the soldiers out towards the Front Line. 54,395 soldiers are named here who died in the Salient but whose bodies were never found. A service of Remembrance takes place here every evening at 8pm throughout the year. We have our own short service here where we remember the names of those who are listed at Tyne Cot and the Menin Gate who came from Frodsham and all those who have continued to fight for our freedom in the past and today. Thank you to the Pupil Leadership Team for laying our Remembrance Wreath before we held of minute of silence. 

Leonidas for some good quality chocolate shopping. (Tuesday afternoon) 

We always enjoy our visits here which start with a tasting chocolate on entry before we find out our special deal. The pupils always have good intentions buying family gifts here. We know most of it doesn't make it home though.  

Crepe Making and Eating (Tuesday evening) 

Day Three. Shopping and Snails

On Wednesday morning we visited Bolougne-Sur-Mar where we had a walk around the town walls before some time to shop on a traditional pebbled street. The sweet shop, crystal / rock / jewellery shop and a souvenir stall all proved popular with this season's must have buy  was a beret. 

L'escargoterie Du Choquel (Wednesday afternoon) 

Down a number of windy roads and through little villages is where we find the Snail Farm. This is a popular family owned business who ship their product across Europe. First of all we went onto the field to see where the snails spend their time in the summer avoiding their main predator, Mr Rat who is rather fond of their livers! We found out all about the life of the snail and how they can also be used for facial products and throat medicine. We then went indoors for a tasting session where there were three options. Most children and staff had a try of at least one. 

A traditional French breakfast Cheese Tasting and games of Petanque. (Wednesday morning and late afternoon.)

Day Four, Bread making, more pain au chocolate and a visit to La Coupole. 

On Thursday morning we headed to a traditional boulangerie in the countryside where they have been baking bread for over 100 years using the same methods. Half a class took part in a workshop whilst the other half enjoyed rather large Pain au chocolates and we started the "Where's Timothy" game which lasted throughout the day. The workshop consisted of us all having a go at translating key words as part of the baking process. Bruno demonstrated the different methods used and then we all prepared the dough for individual baskets. We also saw lots of apple tarts being created by the bakers at work and watched as they were all put into a very hot oven, 

Where's Timothy? 

La Coupole (Thursday afternoon) 

La Coupole is a Second World War bunker and was built by the Nazi forces between 1943 and 1944. The dome was to serve as the launch pad for  V-2 rockets which would have been launched towards London and Southern England. Their plan never worked as the area was liberated shortly before they were ready to launch. The site was mainly built through forced labour of local people and members of the resistance who are remembered here. Our pupils again showed a great deal of respect whilst visiting the Museum. 

The Great Egg Drop Challenge and and end of residential Disco. 

Day Five. Travelling home. How early? Dark, sunny, rainy, are we nearly there yet? 

We hope you all had a fantastic week and our families enjoyed a little peace at home. 

With thanks to Matilde, Quentin, Rob (our driver), Mrs Eagling, Mrs Smith, Mrs Devereux-Robert, Mr Devereux-Roberts, Mrs Pye, Mrs Anstice and especially Mrs Levey who organised everything.