Pupils at Rowlands Gill Primary School have been recording their own experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, taking inspiration from an iconic relic from the middle ages.

The idea to create their own version of the Bayeux Tapestry, was inspired by the donation of lengthy rolls of plotter machine paper by Vistry Partnerships North East, which is developing a site near the school

The famous 11th Century artwork depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and the famous battle of Hastings in 1066. And while a very different battle has been fought over the past year, to limit the spread of coronavirus, the significance of this unusual period in our modern time motivated the children to mark it in this most historic of ways.

Year two teacher, Rhonda Winskill, said: “The idea was to look back at how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the children’s lives and the lives of those in the wider community – but to also to look forward, celebrating the changes the pupils are looking forward to as we emerge from the most recent lockdown.”

As well as creating their own 15 metre long Bayeux Tapestry style frieze, the children now plan to use 21st Century tools to take pictures and videos of their work and produce materials for a time capsule, also donated by Vistry Partnerships North East.  It will be buried on the Gibside Chase development – being sold through the housebuilding division, Linden Homes – once restrictions are hopefully, finally lifted in June.

The Head boy at the school said: “Covid was hard because we couldn’t come to school and had to keep apart. I missed school and my friends. I am really glad things are starting to get back to normal. It feels better now and I am happy.’

The Head girl added: “Because of the coronavirus, we couldn’t really share our work so it has been good to all put our work on the same bit of paper, like we are all together again.”

Vistry Operations Director, Dave Brown, said:  “Working with the community in the areas around where we are building is an important part of any project we undertake. We are delighted that this donation sparked a great idea and allowed the children the opportunity to reflect upon what has been a difficult year for us all. We’re also excited to be working on this time capsule project which will capture their thoughts and feelings for future generations to find many, many years in the future.”

Vistry Partnerships North East is currently active on 14 construction sites around the region with a gross development value of just under £360 million and is working with seven Housing Associations and five local authorities.

*Picture caption:  Rhonda Winskill, Dave Brown and the school’s head boy and girl pictured as work begins on the Covid-19 ‘tapestry’ at Rowlands Gill Primary School.