Former Wigan teacher honoured to address national conference about her Holocaust memorial work

A retired Wigan teacher has spoken of her delight and honour at being asked to address a national conference about her long service to Holocaust education.

Jean Hensey-Reynard was invited by the Holocaust Education Trust to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in London to give a powerpoint presentation on her 24 years coordinating work on this moving and vital subject area.

She told dignitaries about how she became involved in Holocaust memorial work in the very early days – 1999 – and how she has worked with Wigan Council and the Museum of Wigan Life to educate youngsters in many of the borough’s schools and organise Holocaust Memorial Day events since 2001, the latest of which are taking place this week.

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Left to right: Hanifah Ibrahim; Jean Hensey-Reynard; Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE; Hannah Lewis MBE; Karen Pollock CBE; Oliver Smith; and Peter Lee, director of Cabinet Office- Communities and Integration

Jean said: “It was such an honour to give the talk and fly the flag for Wigan and Leigh. We have been at the forefront of this area of education for longer than many parts of the country and I am very proud of that.

"Bringing learning to life has always been a key tenet of my career.

"On Friday January 27 we hope our two ceremonies will be just as meaningful as the first.

"We hope as many people will attend the events the first of which is at Leigh Town Hall from 11am to noon with Sacred Heart Catholic Primary pupils bringing their paper photo frames of the ‘Ordinary People’ (this year’s theme) they have been learning about from the HMD website.

Jean Hensey-Reynard delivers her powerpoint presentation on Wigan's Holocaust education programme over the years at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

In Wigan theceremony runs from 2pm to 3pm at Wigan Town Hall atrium. Here St John Fisher Year 7 pupils will perform a drama/dance/musical performance based on the theme “Ordinary People doing Extra Acts of Bravery.”

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At both events there will be readings from various members of the public along with Leigh Paperback Writers who have penned poems based around this year`s theme.

There will also be an opportunity to see a canvas portrait created by 14-year-old Lauren McCarrick from Bedford High School in Leigh.

Her portrait is appearing in the HMD Online Gallery which can be viewed on the HMD website.

It shows the smiling face of a Ukranian Mother – Zoia – who is living here with her young daughter Tanya with a host family because of the war in Ukraine.

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To watch this year’s national ceremony which is being held on Thursday January 26 at 7pm, interrested parties must register online at the HMD website. This year for the first time people are able to order a special commemorative Holocaust Memorial Day candle to light at 4pm on the January 27 for the “Light in the Darkness” moment.