Forty Y Pant students recently returned from four thrilling days on a joint French/History department trip to Lille in North Eastern France. The students from mainly Year 8, 9 &10 experienced many great landmarks in the history of this area.
(click to see the photos at the bottom of the page)
Our trip started with a visit to Ypres a beautiful town just over the border in Belgium. The War museum there was very impressive, and students wandered around the exhibits and charted the lifeline of a local person and their First World War experience. Wednesday also saw our visit to the grave of ‘Hedd Wyn’ the famous Welsh poet whose poem won the Chair of the National Eisteddfod that year, six weeks after his death. Hannah Pryor and Dan Webb both laid remembrance crosses from the school at his grave.
The highlight of the day was witnessing the ‘Last Post’ at the Menin Gate. The buglers from the local fire service called the crowd to order with their poignant tune. Rebecca Hill and Anthony Battista honoured the school by laying a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives. It was a very thought provoking moment for all.
Thursday dawned sunny and cold. Our first stop was the Museum of Fine Arts in Lille, a simply gorgeous building with many fine works of art to admire. It boasts the title of the second largest Art museum in France after the Louvre museum in Paris. A little spot of lunch and some retail therapy later and we zoomed off to the Somme and the ‘Beaumont-Hamel’ encampment for the Newfoundland/Canadian troops. Students and staff walked through trenches and scanned gravestones, amazed at the ages of those who lost their lives.
Next stop was the ‘Thiepval’ memorial, a magnificent edifice to honour the unknown war heroes. Students were keen to access the computer stations in the visitor centre to see if their surnames held links to the war dead. The ‘Lochnagar Crater’ was our next stop, a huge crater resulting from the British attempt to infiltrate under enemy lines. The noise of the resulting explosion could be heard over 200 miles away in London.
My personal favourite was the monument at ‘Mametz Wood’, a fiery dragon atop a splendid plinth honouring the Welsh regiments’ attempts to gain territory from the enemy. The wood is still clearly visible nearly 100 years later, and the futility of battle was in sharp contrast to the calm farmland. This time Mr Sweet laid a memorial cross at the memorial. Our final stop was a visit to a grave yard just outside of Pozières where a local man A.J Richards from Llanharry is remembered.
Friday was an action packed day at Disney. All students were very excited at meeting their favourite Disney characters and experiencing the hair-raising rides at the park. We were lucky enough to have a hopper ticket which meant access to both parts of the park. The students were happy but tired out, after a long day having fun and the inevitable retail dash. We travelled into central Paris that night to round off the day with an evening cruise of the River Seine. It was an ideal way to see many of the great Parisian landmarks and the view of the Eiffel tower with a sunset behind was breath-taking. We dined in style just off the Arc de Triomphe roundabout at the local restaurant Monte Carlo
Saturday morning signalled our departure from Lille. We headed off to Bruges and its promise of delicious Belgian chocolates! We were not to be disappointed. A fascinating chocolate demonstration took place and many students eagerly rushed to buy some of the yummy goodies to take home. A quick lunch in town and we were heading back to Blighty.
After a very successful and busy few our Driver and Tour Guide commented on Y Pant being one of the best group of students they had ever taken away. This is a commendation to be really to be proud of. The coach was kept spotless and as staff we were very impressed by the attitude of our students. Many thanks from Mrs Davies, Mr Sweet, Mrs Rose and Mr Gowman.
Cruising on the Seine (nice ears)
Laying a wreath at the Menin Gate
Mrs Davies’ new ride!
The teachers – Mrs Rose sporting some unusual headgear.
Ypres War museum
Jack Hayes’ art work
Yummy Goodies in Bruges
Paris? I thought Jackie loved Umeå!