Category Archives: Contemporary issues

A Diary Entry from Grace Darling

Choose a character from the past (it doesn’t have to be a famous person). Research that character and the time that they lived. Use the drama convention Visualisation to explore what it would be like to be that character. What would they hear? What would they see? Smell? Experience? Write a diary entry in role as your character.

My post is about a historic person rather than a character. Her name is Grace Darling. She saved 18 people’s lives at sea off the coast of Bamburgh, Northumberland on one of the Farne Islands at just 22 years old. She was the first woman to be awarded for bravery by the RNLI. She is a heroine of her time.

Today is the 7th September 1838. The weather is calm after the storm this morning.

Maybe some day someone will read my diary and read about what I have done on this day. Maybe I’ll be remembered for what I have achieved. 

The day started as it normally did for a 22 year old 5 foot 2 woman who is the daughter of a lighthouse keeper in a family household. I helped mother with the laundry after deciding what dress to wear. We are the same height and build. I then helped my father with cleaning the lighthouse. Our lighthouse is on the land but beside a lot of the Farne Islands which can be often covered by the strong waves of the North Sea, so a lighthouse is essential to help save the lives of those out on their boats. After the day was done we went to sleep, but being waking up early the next day to strong winds and rain battering against by window is something I will never forget.

It was 6am. I was unable to sleep so did what I normally do, admire the view of the sea. It was extremely choppy. In the distance I could see a ship on the Harcar Rock and I woke Father uo straight away. We found our telescope to see if we could see any life on the rock. It wasn’t until 7am that there was enough light and we could both see movement in the distance.  The lifeboat had been called for already from Sunderland, but I knew it would take at least three hours for it to arrive. It was at that moment I knew we needed to get our 20 foot rowing boat and rescue the survivors, Father was clearly nervous but he knew the water and he knew the rocks. We rowed for a mile, tackling the wind and spray from the sea. But we made it to the SS Forfarshire.

While Father helped those onto the boat I had to try and keep it balanced. It was so windy and the water was so rough. I had to comfort Mrs Dawson. Both of her children were lost this morning. There were still two men on the rock but father went back for them and the remaining bodies of those who did not survive. But we did it. We saved 18 lives.

The ship was built in Dundee by Thomas Adamson in 1834. The ship was on a voyage from Hull back up to Dundee when it hit the rock. It saddens me that this ship was only a few years old and never made it back to its home city.

This is a day I will never forget. I hope people will be proud of me.

Goodbye for now,


The reason I chose the character for this post was because I visited the Grace Darling museum in Bamburgh this weekend and was utterly amazed at the bravery of this woman. She was only a couple of years older than me at the time of the rescue and is also the same height as me. When I was there and saw the size of the boat she rowed I was utterly amazed. I want to be able to teach pupils about Grace when I have my own class and be able to adapt her story to drama lessons. Pupils will be able to show so many emotions through this story: fear, sadness, hope and happiness.

As the ship was also made in Dundee it will allow pupils to learn about the shipbuilding industry Dundee was known for and be able to add more characters into their dramatisation.



Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

In September 2014 I visited the largest concentration camps from the Holocaust: Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz Birkenau where at least 1.1 million people were murdered. I took part in the experience through the Holocaust Educational Trust in a project called “Lessons from Auschwitz” where two people from my Advanced Higher History class were chosen through an Auschwitz bapplication process. This experience was one which was wanted by so many, so I was honoured to be one of the two chosen and I am now a Holocaust Ambassador for the Trust. I feel that writing this post today is very important as I want to inform people what I saw and how I felt. My main aim with this is to ensure that people never forget about the Holocaust and we must try our best to learn and teach about the events to ensure something like it will not happen again.

The experience consisted of three stages- an orientation seminar, the day trip to Poland and a follow up seminar.

During the first seminar we heard a testimony from Holocaust survivor Eva Clarke. Eva was born in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria in April 1945, so though she would not be able to remember the events herself, she was able to tell the story of her mother’s time in the camps and her survival of the genocide. Teva_clarke_220_1he thing that struck me most in Eva’s testimony was the fact that no one noticed that Eva’s mother was pregnant until she began to actually give birth. This helps highlight the sheer strength and bravery of her mother. In Eva’s story, all her mother’s family were separated from one another, like many others who lost their lives and loved ones, yet Eva’s testimony helps to highlight that each person involved in the Holocaust was a human being with their own extremely different experience and her story stuck in my mind while we were in the camps. On this day each year I think of Eva as 15 members of her family were murdered in Auschwitz Birkenau.

Visiting the actual camps was one of the most horrifying and moving experiences of my entire life and it is something that I will never EVER forget.

The quote we heard in the first seminar “seeing is not like hearing” described how I felt perfectly. I saw for myself the infamous Auschwitz 1 gate which reads “Arbeit Macht Frei” and I arbeit-macht-freifound this chilling because so many prisoners of the camp would have believed this. Making our way through Auschwitz 1, we saw 2000 pairs of shoes, pots and pans, hairbrushes and suitcases with the prisoners’ home addresses on them really brought the propaganda and horrors of the Holocaust into a larger perspective as it showed that the victim’s really believed they would be using such belongings and their lives were going to change for the better, only for their life to be stripped away from them. For some, their lives were taken in a matter of minutes. I feel the part which moved me the most was being in Block 4 and seeing 140,000 people’s hair. This upset and me so much as this is someone’s DNA and by shaving their hair it completely dehumanised them and to the suitacaseNazis, it made all prisoners seem the same. Though I have given statistics for a lot of the belongings we saw, it is extremely impersonal and through seeing them for myself I know that each prisoner in Auschwitz was their own individual with their own families, friends, homes and backgrounds.

The trip to Auschwitz itself taught me so much that I could ever imagine. It brought everything I had learnt during the first seminar and everything I learnt about the Holocaust in History lessons to life and it felt so surreal. While in Auschwitz, we were taught that everyone in the Holocaust were individual human beings. Of course there was the millions of victims, but we were taught the terms ‘perpetrators’, ‘bystanders’ and ‘collaborators’. The perpetrator is the person who committed an evil act, such as a Nazi murdering victims. I also know bystanders were important in understanding the Holocaust as they were often people who would witness things such as families being taken away from their homes and not telling anyone about it. Though some of these people committed terrible crimes, we must always remember that each and every single person who is related to the Holocaust in some way is a human being and will have been affected by the genocide in so many different ways.

The most important part of the project is your Next Steps. This is where you have to teach your school and community about the horrors of the Holocaust to ensure that it is never forgotten. Sydney (the other student taking part in LFA) and I gave lessons to all 7 second year history hetclasses. We taught them a little bit about the Holocaust and what the LFA project consisted of. They then asked us questions about Auschwitz which we could confidently answer due to being taught so much valuable information at the seminars.

However, for our second part of the Next Steps we were lucky enough to have a Holocaust survivor come and speak at our school. His name is Harry Bibring and he was born in Austria in 1925. Sydney and I got to spend the whole day with him and go out for a meal at night with our history teachers. He is such an interesting and kind hearted man. Harry’s story was about his childhood and how he was put on the Kindertransport to Great Britain with his sister. Harry enjoyed things such a speed skating and going to the cinema, but when the Nazis took charge in Austria Harry could not take part in these hobbies.  His father owned his own business which was destroyed in LFAthe Kristallnacht. Harry’s family’s plan was to join him and his sister in Britain, however, his father died of a heart attack and his mother was taken to Sobibor, a death camp in Germany. Harry’s story was so moving, but so very different to Eva’s which I feel is extremely important in understanding my previous point about how every person involved in the Holocaust had a different experience and story to tell.

On this day, the 27th January 2016, I feel that  that the Holocaust is still very relevant in this day and age. It is the 21st century and yet there is still anti-Semitist attacks and sheer racism happening,  not just in the UK, but all around the world. I feel that we should learn from the Holocaust and never ever allow anything like it to happen again and as a teacher I WILL be teaching about the Holocaust and how we must learn from it to ensure something like this NEVER happens again.