Stubbington school’s Titanic effort to learn about tragedy

ROLES Josie Dobinson, nine and Alex Scopes, eight, in film pose.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (120715-11)
ROLES Josie Dobinson, nine and Alex Scopes, eight, in film pose. Picture: Paul Jacobs (120715-11)

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WHILE the upper classes are sipping on champagne in the banqueting room, the paupers are keeping their spirits up in dingy cabins below with Irish jigs and hopes of a better life in America.

Along the deck, a cheery captain guides passengers to their rooms and casts an eye on crew toiling away in the engine room – oblivious to the impending disaster.

ICEBERG AHEAD Thomas Sandle, 10, on the bridge.  (120715-8)

ICEBERG AHEAD Thomas Sandle, 10, on the bridge. (120715-8)

The story of Titanic’s sinking on her maiden voyage from Southampton 100 years ago has been reconstructed to the last detail at a primary school in Stubbington – to inspire children to write.

Each pupil at Crofton Hammond Juniors has taken on the role of a real life passenger, firing up their imaginations for writing diary entries, postcards and stories based on the tragic tale.

Peter Lavery, nine, stepped into the shoes of American seaman Lionel Leonard in third class, who did not survive the sinking.

He said: ‘I’ve been Irish dancing all day, it’s been so much fun.

‘I bought a pipe – empty of course – and some clothes that were a bit dirty to get into character.

‘Every now and again I try to sneak into the first class area but the snobby passengers won’t have any of it!’

He added: ‘I died and my body was never recovered – it’s pretty sad.’

Megan Emond played 18-year-old Ethel Beane who got away on a lifeboat and lived to the ripe old age of 93.

The 10-year-old, who accessorised her long black dress with pearls and a shawl, said: ‘I’m being posh today, playing dominoes with my friends.

‘There’s a real sense of drama because I know it will all end badly, but I’m still managing to have a great time.

‘I’m looking forward to writing to my mum and telling her all about my experiences on this magnificent ship.’

Lizzie Dilloway, 10, in the role of another survivor, personal maid Amalie Gieger, in first class, added: ‘It’s nice to put yourself into someone else’s shoes.

‘I’m giving the waiters a lot of work – I’ve had at least five glasses of champagne so far.

‘It’s exciting but at the same time sad as so many people died.’

Loren May, year three teacher, said: ‘There’s a real buzz. Everyone’s so excited and we have some fantastic costumes.

‘The idea is to inspire the children to write, and to use their imaginations to bring history to life.

‘There are a lot of sensitive issues around the story of the Titanic, which the children will learn about while at the same time having fun with their characters.’