Uncovering sailors’ love stories

(l-r) Owen Marten (8), Nathan Broderick (9) and Sadie Stallard (9) from Trosnant Junior School, with their letters at St Francis Church.''Picture: Sarah Standing (13526-9438)
(l-r) Owen Marten (8), Nathan Broderick (9) and Sadie Stallard (9) from Trosnant Junior School, with their letters at St Francis Church.''Picture: Sarah Standing (13526-9438)

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Nursery school for all three-year-olds

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SAILOR Walter Granger wrote more than 800 letters to his beloved girlfriend Edith when he was in the Royal Navy.

Inspired by his tale, children at two schools in Leigh Park have been writing their own letters after a visit to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

It’s part of the Hear My Story project, which tells the undiscovered stories from the men and women who have made the Royal Navy’s history over the last century.

The children from Sharps Copse Primary and Trosnant Juniors were tasked with making their own blueys – letters that were sent to and from the sailors to their families when they were serving abroad.

They decorated them and then used the letters to make a quilt, to represent the sailors sleeping and reading letters in their cabins.

Artist Deborah Dodsworth worked with the children to produce the work.

She said: ‘Some of the letters are amazing. Most of them wrote the letters as if they were in the navy. They pretended to be sailors.

‘Now, they have got a good idea about history within the navy. Living in this area there are a lot of families that have relatives in the navy.

‘It gives them a strong link with what they already know.

‘They recognise this as being part of everybody’s life.’

The children’s artwork, called When I Dream, I Dream of Home, was on display at St Francis Church in Leigh Park yesterday.

The attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard have been touring the area to give local residents a taste of the culture that is on their doorsteps as part of the Sea Life Roadshow.

Hannah Swarbrick, Year 4 teacher at Trosnant Juniors, said: ‘It was an amazing experience for the children. They had the opportunity to go out on a trip and see everything first hand.

‘They got to look at artefacts and explore and have a real life experience which some of them wouldn’t have.’

Following the exhibition, the children’s work will be displayed at the National Museum of the Royal Navy during the Easter Holidays.