MPs moved to tears by Gom­er­sal school pupils

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

MONKS at the Com­mu­nity of the Res­ur­rec­tion in Mir­field con­tinue to un­earth art trea­sures des­tined for auc­tion.

Their lat­est find is a painting, be­lieved to be by the 17th cen­tury master Luca Gior­dano, of a scene de­pict­ing a Madonna and Child with St El­iz­a­beth and an in­fant St John the Bap­tist.

It is ear­marked for the monks’ next an­nual auc­tion in June.

The baroque painting, which has hung on site for 80 years, is to go under the ham­mer and fol­lows art­works by the French painter Mau­rice Le­vis and a bronze cast­ing by Jean-Bap­tiste Pi­galle.

In a mag­nif­i­cent frame, the painting mea­sures 4ft 6ins by 3ft and was the prop­erty of Huyshe Yeat­man-Biggs, suc­ces­sively Bishop of South­wark, Worces­ter and Coven­try. It was given to the Com­mu­nity by his daugh­ter, Mar­garet Yeat­man-Biggs, in 1936.

And on be­half of the monks an art ex­pert has ex­am­ined the piece. He be­lieves the hand of the master can be dis­cerned in the work, adding: “If sig­nif­i­cant role in ed­u­ca­tion and it’s crit­i­cal that they are given the fund­ing, sup­port and at­ten­tion they de­serve.”

Gom­er­sal Pri­mary’s young Arts Coun­cil had no prob­lem get­ting this point across dur­ing the APPG meet­ing, which was chaired by Sharon Hodg­son MP.

Ad­dress­ing the meet­ing, Wil­liam Ni­chol­son ex­plained why he joined the coun­cil, say­ing: “I ap­plied to be part of the Arts Coun­cil be­cause I wanted to dis­cuss my ideas and share my feel­ings.

“In the Arts Coun­cil we have al­ready done a lot con­sid­er­ing we are only a year old, but we still have plans - big plans!

“We would like to con­tinue to set a high stan­dard for the arts in this school. We would like to con­tinue to give chil­dren a voice in all we do Or­gan­iser of the auc­tion, Fr John Gribben, with the painting of Madonna and Child thought to be by 17th cen­tury ro­coco artist Luca Gior­dano you could paint like this, why would you be con­tent to copy some­one else’s work?”

Fr John Gribben, a mem­ber of the Com­mu­nity for nearly 40 years, has or­gan­ised four pre­vi­ous fundrais­ing auc­tions and hopes this year’s will be­cause chil­dren have great ideas.”

Matilda Finn told the meet­ing why ask­ing the other chil­dren’s opin­ions on what should be taught is so im­por­tant.

She said: “This means that ev­ery child in our school has a voice and that voice is heard. Our chil­dren are en­cour­aged to use their cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion to help to im­prove our cre­ative cur­ricu­lum.

“It al­lows chil­dren to talk about the things they love.”

Gom­er­sal Pri­mary champions the arts sub­jects and recog­nises how, along­side read­ing, writ­ing and maths, they play a sig­nif­i­cant part in ed­u­ca­tion.

Mandy Bar­rett, a spe­cial­ist art teacher at the school who at­tended along with head­teacher Me­lanie Cox, said: “We met Tracy Bra­bin in the cen­tral lobby in Par­lia­ment. She be his swansong. His brother Ge­orge – a well-known Belfast auc­tion­eer – will han­dle lots on the day.

Fr John said: “We have been given sev­eral lots which are likely to sell for be­tween £500 and £1,000 each. This painting, even if it isn’t by the master, stands in a league of its own. We have been greatly tempted to send it to a pro­fes­sional auc­tion­eer and I have ag­o­nised over this. In the end I felt I owed it to Ge­orge and all our vol­un­teers to put it into our own auc­tion.

“This is a very beau­ti­ful painting and I have a great love of it so we will not sell it lightly. If the bids are not high enough we will be very happy to keep it at home.”

For more on the auc­tion, visit www.mir­field.org.uk/auc­tion or call 01924 494318. spent time re­as­sur­ing our chil­dren and gave ad­vice about speak­ing in de­bates.

“She lis­tened care­fully to the chil­dren and was able to dis­cuss why she be­lieves art is im­por­tant in ed­u­ca­tion due to her own ex­pe­ri­ences at school.

“Dur­ing the APPG meet­ing, our chil­dren lis­tened care­fully to the other speak­ers.

“Eva was brave enough to ask a ques­tion to the BBC jour­nal­ist Bran­wen Jef­freys about fund­ing cuts and the de­cline of arts in sec­ondary schools.

“Some peo­ple in the room were moved to tears while lis­ten­ing to our chil­dren speak.

“There can’t be many nine and 10-year-olds that can say they moved politi­cians to tears in Par­lia­ment.”

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