YOUNGSTERS from military families have been celebrated during the third annual Service Pupil’s service at Ripon Cathedral.

The event, which brought together 600 Service pupils, reminded youngsters in North Yorkshire that they are not alone in their unusual lifestyle as there are around 3,000 of them in the area.

This year’s theme, new beginnings, was chosen to reflect the number of children who have moved to the area over the summer months. Schools were asked to provide artwork, with the canvases displayed at the Cathedral before being moved to The Station Gallery, Richmond, to be shown throughout December.

RIPONSERVICE2Pupils at the service talked about the way their schools helped them settle in and how they tried to help new people before the Le Cateau Nepalese Dancers gave a performance in traditional dress.

During the service, Jaylan – representing Alanbrooke Community Primary School – talked about HMS Heroes at her school and how the group had helped her settle when she moved there.

Unknown to her, at the back of the congregation was old friend Keira who she had been best friends with until her family was posted away.

They did not forget each other though and, on hearing Jaylan’s voice at Ripon Cathedral, Keira immediately recognised her friend and burst into tears. The two met at the end of the service in an emotional reunion.

Keira’s mother, Katy Clark, said: “I never really thought the girls’ friendship would be so strong after all they have experienced, but I was wrong. It shows that even at such a young age they have made an impact on each other. Military children make friends fast and friendships that last.”

Both girls now attend schools that are members of the pupil support group HMS Heroes and they are advocates for the support that Service pupils give each other through membership.

For more information about HMS Heroes, visit

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