The Anthony Buckingham Memorial Prize 2022

St Peter’s RC Primary School scoops top prize in new local history prize.

Judges have awarded the first prize in the inaugural Anthony Buckingham Memorial history competition to St Peter’s RC School in Sittingbourne with the second place spot going to Bobbing School. The prize, which was launched in January to commemorate local resident Anthony Buckingham, generated plenty of interest from local primary schools giving the judges a difficult job.  

Judges included Anthony Buckingham’s wife and daughter who together created the prize and representatives from the Sittingbourne Heritage Museum (SHM). They were delighted to be joined on judging day by the new leader of Swale Council Cllr Mike Baldock who has always championed local heritage.

The panel considered all the entries last week before voting unanimously in favour of St Peter’s School to win the overall prize of £400 noting that it had woven elements of local heritage into the history studies for every year group, each of which had studied a different topic including Victorians, Tudors, WWII, bargemaking with associated visits and even an in-school Tudor feast featuring Henry VIII!  

Allen Whitnell, chair of SHM commented that “a lot of fun had clearly been had, and many discoveries had been made regarding history in our own locality.” The school noted that the children had so much fun doing this local work that St Peter’s is considering making a local history element a permanent part of history studies in the school.

The second place award was much more hotly contested but Bobbing School’s excellent research presented on a beautiful model of a Viking long ship which tracked Viking and Anglo-Saxon discoveries from around Bobbing and the Sonora Fields estate finally won out to secure the second prize of £200. Judges especially enjoyed the replicas of brooches and the timelines the children had made. 

The panel, also including well-known local history author Helen Allinson, was very impressed with the sheer variety of entries sent in. The History Detectives Club at South Avenue School researched, designed and built a 3D model of the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway while Newington School impressed with a charming video where the pupils dressed as “news reporters” interviewed their friends about the recently discovered Roman settlement and villa.

Year 3 pupils at Minterne Junior School had looked at the High Street and were impressively insightful about the architecture, how the town had changed and how the industries of the town affected it. Year 5 and 6 children in Foxes Class at Lynsted School had studied Henry V and his visit to Sittingbourne’s Red Lion Inn after his victory at the Battle of Agincourt. The pupils had fun acting out the battles that Henry had fought in France and linked world events to Sittingbourne – exactly meeting the objectives of the competition. Pupils from Iwade School focused on the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings and had clearly learnt a lot and discovered many things about events 1000 years ago around Sheppey and the Sittingbourne area with a beautifully decorated project.

Anthony Buckingham’s daughter Christina Davis explained “we loved looking through all the entries. Schools have been so hard-pressed through Covid that there was a distinct chance that no-one would have the time or capacity to enter but we were all delighted to see the interest and enthusiasm shown for the idea. All the teachers told us how enthused the pupils had been to study the history of their own town – my father would have loved it so it’s mission accomplished for us!”