YOUNGSTERS of different faiths and backgrounds paid a moving tribute to the victims of the Holocaust during memorial service with a creative twist.

Thought-provoking artwork adorned the walls of Bolton’s Festival Hall during the Holocaust Memorial Day service yesterday.

The service was an opportunity for schoolchildren from across Bolton to showcase their research and reactions to the memorial’s theme of “Communities Together — Build a Bridge”.

Poems reflecting the brutality and emotional devastation caused by the concentration camps were recited by pupils from each school and Brandwood Community School choir performed at the service.

Councillors and different faith leaders also contributed to the service, with readings to mark the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz — Birkenau extermination camp.

Jessica Hendry, head of religious education at Sharples High School, said: “I am extremely proud of our pupils.

“Throughout the course we have learning about Judaism life. They have been very receptive as well as shocked about the Holocaust. They have put their different thoughts and reactions into artwork and poetry.”

Matthew Chapman, aged 13, of Sharples School, recited his poem at the service.

“We all did posters and poems as part of the projects,” he said. “It was interesting to learn about, but parts were really depressing.”

Rabbi Joseph Lever, of the United Synagogue, read a Jewish Memorial Prayer in English and in Hebrew before the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Guy Harkin, and pupils lit a row of candles in tribute to those lost during the Holocaust.

Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, finished the ceremony with pledge to support people of different faiths in Bolton.

He said: “When we reflect upon the mistakes of the past and, sadly, some of which are going on in the world today, I would like to convey a message of hope and to work upon the positives in our town and country.”

Cllr Harkin added: “I have been very impressed with the work that has gone on behind the scenes by the schoolchildren.”

The event, now in its third year, was organised by Bolton Interfaith Council, the Holocaust Education Trust and Bolton’s Achievement Cohesion and Integrated Service.

The schools taking part included St Brendan’s RC Primary School, Rumworth Secondary School, Prestolee Primary School, St Joseph’s RC School, Heathfield Primary School, Horwich Parish CE School, Sharples High School, Brandwood Community School and Bolton College.