Local youngsters didn’t just become reporters for the day last week – they travelled back in time and became war correspondents.
Pupils from Priory School, Lewes, and Barcombe Primary School joined the Sussex Express on Friday as part of national Takeover Day.
Their special assignment? To find out more about the Battle of Lewes, the 750th anniversary of which is now a mere 18 months away.
Priory’s Meredith Gilbert and Robin Holmes, together with Barcombe youngsters Scarlett, Eloise and Sam, visited Lewes Priory and Lewes Castle, which played key roles in the battle of 1264.
They soaked up the atmosphere and then put their imaginations to work, writing reports as if they were eyewitnesses to the events of more then seven centuries ago. The catch was that they were limited to 100 words each – no easy task, but a challenge they all rose to.
Meredith reflected on the outcome, writing: “The barons had no reason for ruling. It was the King’s job, the King’s right. But now Henry and his son have been taken, so what will happen now?” Robin pictured herself as a trembling child, dew seeping into her shoes, whose father and brother were fighting for the outnumbered Simon de Montfort. She watched them march away: “This was going to be tough. I wondered when I would see them again.”
Sam described “impatient children” eagerly awaiting news of the battle, while Eloise reported King Henry III shouting to his adversary: “You will never win!” Scarlett visualised the aftermath of the “blood-curdling” action, with the field covered in the bodies of the dead.
Later the young reporting team learned about news gathering at the paper, and how it is put together.
Takeover Day was led by the Children’s Commissioner for England and gave children and young people the chance to shadow jobs, get involved in decision-making and offer their opinions on key issues.
Thirty-five young people from Priory School were involved. In addition to the Sussex Express, they spent the day at Sussex Police Headquarters, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, Pells Primary School, Lewes District Council, and Lewes Library. There were also GCSE Business Studies students visiting the Santon Group who are developing the Phoenix Quarter of the county town.