Ten year old Hannah, a student at Leehurst Swan School, contacted us trying to find inspiring women for her campaign. During her search she had come across our website and noticed that the main characters in our film were about young girls and women who worked in secret factories to build Spitfires during the war. Her campaign was to redress the balance of her school houses which were named after men.
We simply could not refuse the wishes of this young lady and in order to help her cause, we offered to come to her school and give a screening of the full documentary. This would be followed by a Q&A session by our historian. One part of our project is to give support to education and get young people interested in history, especially about war time where so many amazing tasks were achieved by ordinary people, young and old, including huge numbers of girls and women. Unfortunately much of this has never been told and our documentary is one of those stories being told for the very first time.
One of the theories is that the naming of the Spitfire was done by the director of the Vickers company at the time who named it after his daughter he called a Spitfire. This name goes back to the 1920’s and given to describe strong minded independent young girls. Keeping with this tradition, Hannah is now referred to by us as Hannah the Spitfire.
The screening was attended by the entire school and opening speech was done by Hannah to explain the reasons for wanting this film to be shown. It was such a pleasure to see the reaction of all the students. We are often lead to believe that young people have no interest in anything other than what’s on their mobile phones but the Q&A session after the screening proved how wrong that assumption is, it was the longest session we ever had.
We are very grateful to Leehurst Swan School for making this possible and spending such efforts to engage their students in history which would otherwise be completely forgotten.