A tree, a poppy brooch and how the Queen inspired a Liverpool school
St Vincent’s School principal John Patterson described the Queen as an ‘amazing leader’ who has left an ‘incredible legacy’.
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An award-winning specialist school for children with sensory impairment has paid tribute to the Queen and the impact she had on some of its ground-breaking projects.
Children from St Vincent’s School in West Derby, Liverpool, sang for the Queen at Liverpool Town Hall during her last visit to the city in 2016.
St Vincent’s principal, John Patterson, was at the event and told LiverpoolWorld: “The Queen was such an amazing leader who I have immense respect for.
“When we saw her, it was obvious she had done her homework and was wonderful in the way she engaged with people.”
Following the visit, Dr Patterson wrote to the Queen and told her about a trip the school had made to the battlefields of Ypres, Belgium, to commemorate sight loss in the Great War.
The children from St Vincent’s who travelled to Belgium were inspired to make poppy jewellery and other ceramic pieces.
The first piece, a ceramic poppy brooch, was sent to the Queen. Some of the other creations were gifted to Liverpool Town Hall and are on display.
Annabel Whitehead, lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II, wrote back to Dr Patterson on behalf of the Queen describing how touched both she and the Duke of Edinburgh were at their ‘warm welcome’ to the city and the ‘beautiful brooch’.
Dr Patterson said: “When the Queen recognises the work you are doing, there is no doubt about how encouraging it is and it becomes motivation to do even more.”
The innovation at the school has continued and pupils attended COP26 in Glasgow last year with packets of wild flower seeds to encourage climate action.
They sent the first packet to the Queen, then to all the major faith leaders in Liverpool.
Students at St Vincent’s have also been planting trees for the Queen’s Green Canopy, a tree planting initiative created to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which invited people from across the UK to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’.
They set aside a tree – a nine-year-old beech - specifically for the Queen. It is now at The Lyceum School in London and Dr Patterson hopes King Charles might plant it.
He said: “I think the Queen always supported the notion that with love and motivation anything can be achieved. She has left an incredible legacy.”
Pupils at the school have developed a global project called Sightbox, after becoming concerned about the lack of access to education and technology for visually impaired children and individuals living in developing countries.
Working with the Liverpool Rotary Club and Lions Clubs International, the school worked to fund and create the Sightboxes - containers filled with equipment which help blind and visually impaired children access sports and have a more independent lifestyle.
They are now shipped to children around the world.