Children at a Banbury primary school spent today (Friday Dec 3rd) reflecting on the selfless work of NHS and emergency service workers as they marked Unite The Uniforms day.

Students at Dashwood Academy came into school dressed in the colours of the emergency services: red, blue, green or orange.
They spent the morning listening to a talk from Thames Valley (Cherwell & West Oxon) police officers who discussed their work and daily schedules.

Sarah Gordon-Weeks, vice principal at Dashwood, said it was important for the children to recognise the vital role that the emergency services play in our communities and to pay tribute.

She told the Banbury Guardian: ‘’We wanted to take time out of our busy school day to reflect on all the amazing work that our heroes in the emergency services do everyday.
“It is so important that our pupils at Dashwood grow up understanding that these services do a phenomenal job each day to support our families. Over the years we have been lucky enough to work with these services by them coming in to visit us, like they have done today. Throughout lockdown our students were also reminded of the selfless work of those in the emergency services keeping our communities safe.’’

The purpose of Unite The Uniforms Day is to create awareness and funding for the UK’s first ‘999 Cenotaph’ to honour the NHS and all emergency services equally.

Mrs Gordon-Weeks also touched upon the commitment and dedication shown by care home staff and revealed students have consistently shown their support for residents and staff at the local Ridings Care Home, which is a 10-minute walk from the school.

Letters, pictures and other artwork have been sent to the care home in the past, and earlier this week a group of 14 year six students sang Christmas songs and carols for residents.

The young students adhered to social distancing guidelines and stood in the garden of the care home to sing as the residents watched on. Pupils also sent in Christmas tree decorations they had made and were delighted to be present for the home’s annual Christmas lights switch on.

Carly Bunn, year five and year six lead, helped to organise the event.

She said: ‘’It was lovely to be able to bring some festive joy to the residents at Ridings. It is something we have been doing for the last eight to nine years and it’s great to be able to continue with it this year despite restrictions.

‘’The residents enjoyed listening to and watching the children as they sang a number of Christmas songs and carols including Away in a Manger, Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Winter Wonderland.

‘’The Christmas decorations made for the tree had a ‘glitz and glam’ theme and the students were all given a selection box as a thank you for their efforts.

‘’Given the difficult time we’ve all had over the last year-and-a-half to two years, it was wonderful to be able to create some happy memories.’’