Before the pandemic took hold, children from Middle Wallop station and surrounding villages were regularly attending Friday nights at the Army Flying Museum and learning about the history of aviation through fun activities.

Once lockdown came into effect, Janine Shipley, the local community development worker (CDW) and museum outreach officer, Dan Ball, came up with a plan to deliver the sessions online.

The project was a huge success with its young participants loving the different activities such as acting workshops with Red Sauce theatre, where they acted out the stories of several glider pilot soldiers who took part in D-Day.

They also met Ralph, the Victorian, from theatre company Historical Huzzahs and explored life in Victorian Britain.

There were Taskmaster sessions to complete and children’s author Conrad Burdekin created a poem with them. They cracked codes and ciphers with virtual visits to Bletchley Park and Southampton Museum and learnt about real people and Victoria Cross winners’ stories as well as those of female aviators.

Feedback from children and parents has been extremely positive, with one young participant saying “I love learning about the wars and the people that were there” and another adding “it’s great fun as I get to see my friends”.

There’s more to come this summer, so if you’d like to join future sessions, you are welcome wherever you are stationed. Just email Janine.Shipley406@mod.gov.uk for details.

To find out what’s going on in your area, check out your local HIVE blogs or speak to your local CDW.

Main photo: Bill the air raid precaution warden from theatre company Historical Huzzahs. The digital deployment took children back in time to World War Two for a session that covered air raids, rationing and make-do-and-mend.

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