Leighton student lays wreath at Ypres

Vandyke Upper student Callum Betley with  Sgt Philip Brazier
Vandyke Upper student Callum Betley with Sgt Philip Brazier

A Vandyke Upper School pupil was one of four students chosen to lay a wreath at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gates in Ypres.

Callum Betley, 14, was at the solemn occasion as part of the government-funded First World War National Centenary education programme.

He said: “I felt honoured to get the chance to lay the wreath and I am grateful that I will never be required to fight in such horrible conditions as so many of the young men had to in the Great War.”

The event – which takes place every night - is attended by buglers from the Ypres volunteer fire brigade who sound the Last Post before a minute’s silence is held to remember the fallen.

Callum laid the wreath as a mark of respect on behalf of the group, which included 20 schools from across the Midlands and East Anglia.

He was accompanied by fellow Vandyke students Natalie Odeh, 15, and 14-year-old Aaron O’Neill.

They were particularly interested in locating the name of Private George Walter Rowe from Leighton Buzzard who served in the Bedfordshire Regiment and was killed on October 9, 1917, aged 34.

They found it on a panel at Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth war cemetry in the world.

On their return they will share their experiences with the community through a project which is designed to create a lasting legacy of the Centenary.