One of the four community engagement projects associated with the return of the Iron Duke aimed to recreate the essence of the Avon Rubber in-house newspaper, Avon News, with the help of students from Bradford on Avon’s St Laurence School. The Wiltshire Times agreed to run the ‘newspaper’ as a supplement within its September 23rd 2016 edition, with the concept that the students would write the news and features for it, about the factory, its workers and the Iron Duke. The supplement would be given out at the official day of celebrations to mark the return of the Iron Duke on September 24th, as well as being more widely distributed amongst Wiltshire Times readers that week.
A group of 14 students were subsequently given basic training in journalism by Ruth Butler, Heritage Education Officer at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, and then interviewed many of the people involved in the wider project. Eight of the students, who were in Years 8-10 at the outset of the project, went on to write, and then edit, their stories during their summer holidays, under the guidance of journalist Dawn Gorman. Photographs for the supplement included some of those sourced from the archives at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre by Andrew and Margaret Shipley.
Photo credit: Glenn Phillips