ALMOST 100 youngsters took part in a ceremony of remembrance to mark 100 years since Passchendaele.
The teenagers, who are all graduates of the National Citizenship Service scheme were offered the opportunity to join 4,000 people and some VIP guests from across the UK in a special event in Belgium over the centenary weekend.
Marley Callaway and Annie Caddle, both 17 and from Portsmouth, took on important roles during the event, including looking after VIP guests.
Annie said: ‘I had several roles throughout the two events, including managing the arrivals of the VIPs and invited guests to ensure they were in the right place at the right time.
‘I was lucky enough to meet and talk to the prime minister, Theresa May, about NCS and its benefits to young people.
‘I also met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge briefly which was so surreal.’
She added: ‘It’s been the most incredible and humbling experience to be able to volunteer at such a prestigious and special event representing NCS.’
The commemorations for the first world war battle saw around 4,000 descendants of some of the 250,000 British and Commonwealth casualties, follow their ancestors’ journey to the Western Front for events in Belgium.
Marley said: ‘My favourite moments were talking to descendants of the brave soldiers who fought during the war, and making a deep connection with them.
‘It really hit me when I was talking to an elderly woman who was related to a soldier who died at the age of only 18, very close to my age.
‘The attendees of the event were very mournful but at the same time immensely proud of their ancestors who had thought in the battle.’
Michael Lynas, CEO of NCS Trust, said: ‘One hundred National Citizen Service graduates were honoured to serve our country at the Centenary of Passchendaele events.
‘I am proud of how these young people represented their generation as they met descendants, the Royal Family and the Prime Minister.
‘I know that these young National Citizen Service graduates will help ensure that the sacrifice of the fallen will be remembered for generations to come.’
The NCS is a government-backed programme for 16 and 17-year-olds, which takes place across the country every summer. To sign up, visit ncsyes.co.uk.