Last weekend, on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, five North East teenagers were involved in national commemorations involving members of the Royal family, politicians and veterans.
Alex Elliott-Smith, 18 from Ponteland; Harry James, 18 from Whitley Bay; Harry Twohig, 18 from Middlesbrough; Monica Hardcastle, 17 from Newcastle; and Thora McAnelly, 19 from Guisborough are among 100 teenagers, all graduates of National Citizen Service (NCS), who were invited by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to be part of the National Remembrance Service in London.
Welcoming 10,000 guests to the event, the NCS graduates ensured the event ran smoothly, regestering guests and leading the main procession and wreath-laying ceremony.
Harry Twohig said: “Participating in Armistice 100 was a true privilege. After helping with the accreditation process for guests, we made our way to the cenotaph where I was honoured to lay wreaths on behalf of those who were participating in the People’s Procession.
“Seeing the personal messages written on each wreath will stay with me forever, as a constant reminder that those who gave their lives each had their own stories. The involvement of young people such as myself in such events is vital since we will be the organisers of the remembrance events of the future. It is our responsibility to continue to strive for peace in our communities, in the name of all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be free.”
Open to young people aged 16-17, the NCS programme takes place in school holidays and includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event. Graduate extension opportunities, such as volunteering at Armistice 100, are available to young people after they complete the programme.
Find out more at NCSYES.co.uk