Milton Keynes Academy students had a key role at a visit from The Duke of Cambridge today, who was the special guest at a celebratory MK50 event in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes.
Year 8 student Caitlin Drury, and Daniel Cameron from the Academy’s fast growing Sixth Form represented the Academy at the MK Rose celebration of the Founders of MK. They shared with His Royal Highness the story of Albert French, a young man from Wolverton, who, lured by the excitement and adventure of the First World War, ran away to join up with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps at the age of 16, pretending he was 19.
Albert’s early letters were filled with boyish enthusiasm and ambition. His enthusiasm was tempered when he experienced the realities of trench life, although he continued to put a brave face on it so as not to worry his loved ones back home. A week before his 17th birthday, while part of a working party sandbagging a trench, he was shot and killed.
Students from the Academy were involved as part of a creative writing project in June last year. Having researched the life of Albert French, and having looked at his letters and the records left behind they wrote letters as if they were relatives or friends of Albert at the time. The project ended with a celebration of Albert’s life at the MK Rose in June.
His Royal Highness also met a number of community leaders before joining a ceremony at the Milton Keynes Rose in Campbell Park to commemorate Milton Keynes’ fiftieth anniversary, at which The Duke will make a short speech before unveiling a pillar to celebrate the city’s founders in the early afternoon.