‘Aspidistra’ studied by Maresfield children

Ronald Martin shares  his story with children from Bonners School, Maresfield
Ronald Martin shares his story with children from Bonners School, Maresfield
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Famous Ashdown Forest historic landmark, the Aspidistra transmitter, is the subject of a film researched and produced by children from Bonners Primary School, Maresfield.

And last week they celebrated the end of the Heritage Lottery funded project by joining staff, parents and invited guests at their own film premiere.

The project, which was run by local charity, Sound Architect Creative Media, uncovered mysteries surrounding the aerial which was a British radio transmitter used for black propaganda and military deception purposes against Nazi Germany during WWII.

Over several months, class four researched, investigated and - courtesy of Sussex Police - visited the restricted site at Kings Standing to get an understanding of what happened there during the war.

Their journey took them to the Mass Observation Archive at Sussex University to understand the role of propaganda in the war where they also read excerpts from wartime diaries and learned about what life was like at the time.

They had a tutorial from a member of the Mid Sussex Amateur Radio Society to understand how radio waves operate and met people who worked on the site. They learned how to carry out effective research, how to conduct an interview and made and acted in their very own film.

School governor and Maresfield Historical Society member Jenny Eden congratulated children on their hard work and achievement.

She said: “Not only have they engaged with the project whilst covering many areas of the curriculum including science, history, and English but they have also embraced drama and film to create a lasting record of an intriguing bit of local history which might otherwise have been forgotten. I am both proud and impressed by what they have accomplished in a relatively short time.”

The children were joined by local volunteers who helped with research, shared their memories or helped to explain the complex workings of the transmitter.

Nicky Stewart who volunteered on the project said: “I would encourage anyone with time on their hands, if given the opportunity, to come forward and volunteer to help with research. It’s not only been a fascinating experience but I have made new friends and learned so much about what’s on my doorstep.”