A GROUP of teenagers have won a prestigious film award.

A team of year nine pupils from Bedwas High School won the USW Film & TV School Wales Schools and Colleges Award, judged by Lucas Films Executive Vice President and General Manager Lynwen Brennan.

Their winning video was a stop-motion animation about a WW1 soldier, Lieutenant G.W. Hirst of the King’s Regiment.

South Wales Argus: Part of the animation created by Bedwas High School pupilsPart of the animation created by Bedwas High School pupils

(Part of the video created by Bedwas High School pupils)

The project began as a cross-department between the art and history departments.

14-year-old Evan Jackson said that it started after two of the teachers, Mr Latham and Miss Courtney, thought it would be nice after seeing a window in the nearby church hall dedicated to G.W Hirst.

The pupils decided they were going to do the film for the school’s Remembrance Day assembly, held at the Bedwas Workmen’s Hall nest door.

(The winning video)

Information used to create the video came from a booklet that was researched by a previous class and the pupils investigated the history of the area and of G.W. Hirst.

Gerald William Hirst was only 16 when he enlisted in the army after lying about his age.

He died in 1917 and was the 14th name on Bedwas cenotaph.

South Wales Argus: G.W. HirstG.W. Hirst

(Gerald William Hirst)

“We wanted to show his story as he lived very local to us and it is a part of our local history,” said 14-year-olds Halle Davies-Stallard, Olivia Manka and Elsie Thornton.

“It was fun making the animation,” they added.


Caleb Gough, also 14, explained how everyone joined in.

He said: “We did the drawings and some of the staff did voiceovers. One of the other pupils, Alfie Pole, voiced G.W. Hirst.

South Wales Argus:

(Bedwas High School pupils with their film award (L-R back: Caleb Gough, Evan Jackson, Leo Geraci, all 14, head teacher Stephen Diehl (Front L-R) Sophie Perry, 13, Carys Lawrence, Halle Davies-Stallard, Olivia Manka, Elsie Thornton, all 14)

“We did it during lessons and sometimes had lessons off to go in the art room.

“We had to draw and then animate everything.”

The pupils all said they were really happy with the win, and this was echoed by headteacher Mr Stephen Diehl.

Mr Diehl said: I’m really proud of the work and skills of the pupils and their talent as well as the staff’s who were involved. It was great to see the coming together across subjects.

“The community effort was most impressive for me, with the students coming together and taking interest in the local community and history.

“I’m delighted to have won the award and that we’re putting Bedwas on the map.”