Rolling out the red carpet for children at film festival

Stamford Arts Centre  is working with Heritage Lincolnshire for the festival
Stamford Arts Centre is working with Heritage Lincolnshire for the festival

Heritage Lincolnshire hosted a special premiere for young people and their families who made movies as part of the Stamford Heritage Schools Film Festival.

More than 80 people filled the theatre at Stamford Arts Centre to watch 10 short films produced by pupils from local schools, as part of celebrations to mark 50 years since Stamford became the country’s first conservation area. There were ‘Oscars’ for each school and prizes for all the children involved, which were presented by guests of honour, the leader of South Kesteven District Council Matthew Lee and Mayor of Stamford Tony Story.

Stamford Civic Society chairman Gwyneth Gibbs said: “The films created by the young people with support of their teachers have demonstrated their interest in the history and heritage of Stamford and gave them a splendid opportunity to develop new skills.

“Stamford is a special place and we are keen that the next generation is inspired to value and protect their heritage.

“I hope that this type of project can be repeated and thank Heritage Lincolnshire and Historic England for organising it.”

Pupils from the Bluecoat Primary School produced films sharing the stories of six Stamford soldiers during the First World War.

With the help of experts from the Lincolnshire Memories and Memorials project the children researched the stories behind names chosen from the Broad Street war memorial, and then filmed at historic locations around Stamford with which they had connections.

Cathryn Pyke, Memories and Memorials project officer for Lincolnshire, said: “I felt very privileged to work with the enthusiastic Year 6 pupils of the Bluecoat School. Lincolnshire Memories and Memorials project was able to support and help them in their research of the First World War; their enquiring minds helped them to find a rich depth of information which made their films really interesting and informative.

“Mrs Alison Walker, their teacher, was brilliantly inspirational. The whole project has been a wonderful and innovative way of young people exploring Stamford’s history and heritage.”

Children from Copthill School in Uffington focused their films on the Stamford Canal, which once ran across the school site. They explored the dried up course of the canal and visited Deeping St James to see a lock through which water still flowed.

The young people were even able visit Stamford Town Hall to see the 400 year old charter of King James I granting permission to build the canal, which was amongst the earliest in the country.

At Stamford Welland Academy, young people carried out an oral history project, interviewing older residents from around the town to record their memories. Their aim was to show that although Stamford’s buildings may have stayed the same over the past 50 years, people’s lives have changed completely. Their short film ‘Soundbites of Stamford School Days’ focused on how education has developed in the town, and the memories of school life both good and bad!

All three schools have been awarded coveted Heritage Schools status by Historic England who funded the festival, in recognition of their commitment to teaching and engaging young people with local history.

Kate Argyle, from Historic England, said: “We are delighted that three local schools have gained their Heritage Schools Award and taken part in exploring and recording their local heritage. This has been a fantastic project that has engaged a large number of students of all ages and abilities with their local heritage.”

There will be an opportunity to see all 10 films again at Stamford Library from this week, where they will be playing on loop on a screen during usual opening hours. The films are also available to watch online on the charity’s website at heritagelincolnshire.org/stamford

Dr Ian Marshman, from Heritage Lincolnshire, said: “I’m so proud of the 70 young people who made films for this project, their enthusiasm and creativity has been remarkable!

“It has been great to work with so many young people who care about Stamford and are passionate about its history and preserving its special character.”

The festival was run by Heritage Lincolnshire in partnership with Stamford Civic Society and Stamford Arts Centre, with funding from Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme.