THREE local primary schools have been handpicked by Prince William to make the final in a national competition to immortalise the Christmas Truce of 1914.
St Peter's, in Yoxall, Belmont Primary School, in Swadlincote and Findern Primary school are three of 30,000 schools in the UK which were asked to take part in the competition which sees pupils design a permanent memorial to the football matches played along the Western Front during the Christmas Truce.
It is part of the 'Football Remembers' project organised by the British Council, The Football Association, Football League and Premier League. The judges are Prince William and Arsenal and England footballer Theo Walcott.
In all, 34 schools across the country made the final shortlist – and the winning school will be announced in September. The chosen design will then be made into a permanent memorial to be housed at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Alrewas.
Emma Titchner, of Findern Primary said: "We are all delighted that our small but growing school has had one lucky person shortlisted to have their work exhibited in the arboretum.
"As a whole school we have studied the First World War and learned of the sacrifice made by so many men and women. We have also looked at the continued sacrifice of soldiers in later conflicts. In December we are looking forward to celebrating the Football Truce of 1914 by re-enacting the football match with another local primary school."
Sue Walker, of Belmont Primary School, said: "We are all delighted to have been shortlisted for the prestigious exhibition and competition to commemorate the Christmas truce of 1914.
The pupils who worked on the project became so engaged and interested in their research that they shared it with others across the school.
They worked well as a team; spending a long time sharing and agreeing ideas. The children were proud of their motto: 'It's better to be friends than foe.'
"Their choices were thoughtful and they tried to meet the design brief.
"The school's values reflected the work the pupils undertook as they showed mutual respect and worked to represent the school in the wider community. The children gained a deeper insight into the history of the truce and they are thrilled to be included."
Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: "The football matches played in no man's land weren't organised or official, but they are remembered and offer inspiration to this day."
All the shortlisted designs have gone on display at an exhibition at the arboretum.
As part of the Football Remembers project, more than 30,000 schools received an education pack to help children learn about the Truce – including eye-witness accounts, photos, drawings and letters from soldiers.