One Monday evening, March 7th, Stoke-on-Trent witnessed regeneration in action at a landmark prizegiving event at The Victoria Hall, Hanley.
The pilot,inaugural, UK stage of the Lidice International Children’s Art Competition was a great success. 38 prizes, 10 winners and 28 merit awards, were presented to delighted children from across this city.
The children, after receiving a presentation on the topic, had produced artwork in celebration of the work of Sir Barnett Stross and the workers of Stoke-on-Trent in
rebuilding Lidice, the Czech village wiped out by the Nazis in 1942.
Around 400 inspired pieces were exhibited in all, definitely a fitting tribute to a story anyone with an interest in Stoke-on-Trent can take justifiable pride.
Broadcast simultaneously was the BBC’s Inside Out programme, narrated by Nick Hancock, explaining, in depth, the relationship between Stoke-on-Trent and Lidice, and the man Sir Barnett Stross – a man never appeared in the list of “Citizen of the Century” nominees nor currently mentioned once in The Potteries Museum.
Hopefully, this programme has done much to spread the
inspirational message further round the Midlands region and has helped fill in the generational gap of the many, many tens of thousands of Stoke-on-Trent born adults who’ve completely missed out on this story.
Stoke-on-Trent is the home of the “Lidice Shall Live” campaign. The people of Lidice feel with passion that the people of Stoke-on-Trent should be a part of their lives.
Barnett Stross and our working ancestors have presented
Stoke-on-Trent with a powerful promotional legacy. If we are wise enough to grab the opportunity with the full commitment it deserves and promote our links in exciting and imaginative ways this legacy can do much to change, for
the better, the way Stoke-on-Trent is perceived. It can help raise its profile, which can only be a good thing when attracting public & private sector investment and visitors.
Continuation of the project in schools will
ensure Stoke-on-Trent’s rightful place as the UK hub for the International Art Competition, do much to raise aspirations and send out a strong anti rascist message.
Most people agree that Stoke-on-Trent’s generated some amazing people and is responsible for some remarkable feats. Unfortunately, it’s seldomly presented to the outside world or its own young people.
The Lidice “story” is one of the great examples of a city’s people joined together in a common, courageous, selfless cause. It’s an impressive story that must be told.
Finally, it’s ironic that while much of the heritage around us disappears, we unlock a potentially priceless gift from the working class people of 70 years
ago and Sir Barnett Stross, a “great” but, sadly, formerly unknown man.
Let’s not waste this opportunity.