Rothesay Academy pupils plant Auschwitz memorial

Bethany Calder and Alison McFarlane plant a Kilmarnock willow in the grounds of Rothesay Joint Campus on a wet and windswept day on Friday.

Bethany Calder and Alison McFarlane plant a Kilmarnock willow in the grounds of Rothesay Joint Campus on a wet and windswept day on Friday.

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Pupils at Rothesay Academy planted a tree in the school grounds on Friday in memory of those who were killed in the Auschwitz death camps during the Second World War.

Senior pupils, staff members and invited guests watched Alison McFarlane and Bethany Calder plant a Kilmarnock willow which, in years to come, will give visitors to Rothesay Joint Campus the chance to pay their respects - not only to those who died at Auschwitz and the other Nazi concentration campus, but to all those who gave their lives in war in the service of their country.

Members of the Isle of Bute branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland were among those who attended Friday’s ceremony, while Ron Rye, the minister of Ardbeg Baptist Church, whose maternal grandparents were Jewish, gave a short prayer of thanks.

Alison and Bethany both visited Auschwitz last year with the Holocaust Education Trust as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz programme, and decided on their return home that they wanted to establish a more permanent memorial which would help others learn from their experience.