Why remembering matters...

You’d expect a History teacher to care about the past. And for sports-mad one to be passionate about the provenance of athletic performance, culture and context.

So for me, 30 September - Sporting Heritage Day - was a very special date indeed!

As well as wanting to know about the specific history of different sports, the greats, the records, etc. I’ve always been fascinated by the wider, cohesive role of sport in bringing together individuals and communities. In clubs, of course and through collective support, participation and passion. And there’s also that shared experience that comes from witnessing a truly great sporting moment together. The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and the galvanising effect that those Games had on the country as a whole some six years ago is perhaps the best recent example of what I’m trying to get at.

Olymoic Stadium

For me, Sporting Heritage day this year offered a great opportunity to creatively engage our young people in a linked project related to our commemorations of the centenary of the end of the First World War.

In Lewis Moody, former England Captain and founder of our ‘Mad Dog’ Rugby Academy, we also have the RFU’s official Great War Commemoration ambassador, with a brief to encourage young people to research and remember rugby players who fought and died in the conflict.

Lewis passion is deeply personal. He’s actually named after his great grandfather who served with the British Expeditionary Force - the first soldiers to cross the Channel in 1914 and who were involved immediately in some of the fiercest fighting of the entire War.

I was therefore thrilled that he was so happy to be interviewed last week for our own ‘Rugby Remembers’ video, produced by the Media Studies Department  and led by A Level students from the Mad Dog Academy.

Their chosen focus was on England’s pre-war captain, Ronald Poulton-Palmer who, born in Oxford and a resident of Reading, was the most local of the international players who lost their lives. Ronald was shot dead by a sniper in Belgium on 5 May 1915 aged 25.

Captain Ronald Poulton-Palmer

The video they produced together follows. The first of a series of projects over the next few weeks reminding our students why it’s important to remember...