June 12, 2015
Stoke-on-Trent breaks chains of slavery
Stoke-on-Trent children and citizens from across the city will join together to celebrate the Magna Carta and its democratic legacy at a special service on Monday 15 June, at 12:30 at Stoke Minster. Everyone is welcome.
They will be joined by special guests including the Lord Mayor and historian Fred Hughes, who will talk about the city’s proud democratic traditions and independent spirit.
Everyone will bring symbolic paper chains and ceremonially break the chains of slavery, then joining hands as a symbol of mutual interconnectivity, respect and community.
A special flag produced by pupils from Kingsland Primary in Bucknall will fly above the Minster all week. The children have sent a copy of their flag down to Runnymede in Surrey to be hoisted along-side flags from across the UK.
The event is open to every faith and background.
Kingsland Head Teacher Sara Goddard said the school had been studying the Magna Carta and what it meant.
“Democracy is about learning from history, and that’s exactly what our children have been doing all week. They have understood and appreciated the chain of events which have led to the making of modern democratic Britain. They have really enjoyed exploring our living history,” she said.
Other schools across the city, including Trentham High School, Packmoor Primary, and the Sir Stanley Matthews Academy, are sending representatives to the Stoke Minster event, holding special assemblies, doing special projects and tuning into a live national broadcast from Runneymede.
City Council Deputy Leader Abi Brown, who will be speaking at the event, said freedom was something we should never take for granted.
“It’s wonderful to see the young people of this city raising the flag of liberty and democracy, and learning about these important cornerstones on which our society is based. Stoke-on-Trent has a proud history of supporting freedom, from Josiah Wedgwood who was a central figure in the fight against slavery, through to Barnett Stross and the ‘Lidice Shall Live’ campaign, which rebuilt the town after it’s destruction by the Nazis during World War Two.
“Building democracy is also about people coming together and respecting each other, a message that is echoed in our own city motto – united strength is stronger,” she said.