Year six Church of England Primary school students attended a day of workshops and a leavers’ services at Winchester Cathedral to celebrate as they prepare to move on to secondary school.

Ahead of the leavers’ services, schools from across the Diocese of Winchester, which includes much of Hampshire and part of Dorset, were invited to take part in the Heroes and Chairs project. As part of this, schools bought basic chairs from local charity shops and then asked their year six students to decorate them so that they would be fit for the heroes they meet each day.

Education News | Students Celebrate Everyday Heroes at Leavers Service | Andover & Villages

The heroes and Chairs project encouraged students to think about a definition of heroism beyond what they see on television and in the movies. From community volunteers and lunchtime supervisors, through to emergency service personnel, each day we come across unsung heroes who make a real and tangible contribution to the Common Good.

Hundreds of students from across the Diocese of Winchester attended the workshops and leavers’ services at Winchester Cathedral, bringing a wide array of imaginatively decorated chairs along with them. The chairs are now on display for two weeks at Winchester Cathedral, allowing thousands of visitors to see the extraordinary creativity of students from schools across the Diocese.

Following their display in Winchester Cathedral, the chairs will be returned to schools, where they will be used in lessons and school acts of worship focused on the idea of everyday heroes.

A series of similar services will take place next week at Portsmouth Cathedral.

The Rt Revd Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton, said:

“I was delighted to have an opportunity to meet some wonderful year six children at last week’s leavers’ services. This is a hugely important and transitional time in their lives. Together we recognised that each one of us can be down to earth heroes for each other – through our love, kindness and through speaking up for those left out and vulnerable. Many of the schools who gathered had made wonderful decorated chairs to celebrate ‘everyday heroes’. They are currently on display at the Cathedral and I strongly recommend a visit to see them”.

Jeff Williams, Director of Education for Winchester and Portsmouth dioceses, said:

“last year students from across the dioceses of Winchester and Portsmouth colourfully decorated life-size fibreglass sheep as part of our Ewe Matter project, which encouraged them to think about the important and valuable contribution made to society by people from older generations.

The project was a huge success and set the stage to do something similarly imaginative this year. In God’s eyes we are all heroes – and we wanted to get students to consider the ways in which people are heroes in their everyday lives, often without being recognised or even realising it themselves.

Heroes and Chairs challenged the students to consider a definition of heroism beyond what we see on televisions and the movies. The project got students to transform another seemingly ordinary object – a chair – into something that is truly fit for an everyday hero. In the process, the students were encouraged to consider the world and the people they meet each day in a different light.

It was superb to see the chairs in Winchester Cathedral – and I am delighted that they are on display for visitors to see each day. The chairs will go on to be used in classes and school acts of worship across the Diocese – encouraging students of all ages to consider the everyday heroes who surround us.”

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