Pupils of Royal School for Deaf visit restored grave of founder
DEAF pupils paid a moving visit to the grave of the founder of their school.
Youngsters from the Royal School for the Deaf have spent the last three months cleaning up the final resting place of Dr William Roe.
This academic year marks 120 years since the school was set up by Dr Roe and, as part of their citizenship curriculum, the pupils have been learning about the history of the founder and their school.
The grave, which is in the Nottingham Road cemetery, was in a state of disrepair before pupils put in some elbow grease to get it clean.
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Wendy Daunt, a staff member, was behind the idea.
She said: "Dr Roe did so much for the deaf community around the world, and especially in Derby.
"It's important that the children know about the history of the school, that is now theirs and what hard work went to into making it into the school it is today."
The school, on Ashbourne Road, was granted some money – £1,100 – from a grandson of Dr Roe and used the money to carry out the work.
This paid for professional stone masons to clean the stone and get rid of the years of dirt.
Wendy said: "Then we came in groups to get down on our hands and knees, with tooth brushes to do all of the intricate parts of the grave.
"We couldn't used anything more than toothbrushes because it would cause the stone to just crumble away."
The pupils also chose a memorial vase to put on his grave so flowers can readily be placed.
The Mayor of Derby, Councillor Lisa Higginbottom, visited the grave with the children yesterday.
One pupil who took part in the clean up was Sam Ash, 14, who said: "I really enjoyed cleaning up the grave.
"It was a mess when we first saw it. It was a little bit scary being here often with all the dead people around us but I think it's important that we remember him and learn about the hard work he put into the school."
Ashlea Jones, 16, also helped with the restoration.
She said: "It was very good to be here doing it and learning at the same time.
"Dr Roe founded the school that I now go to and to know the history is very important to me. I'm glad we got this opportunity to do it."
Dr Roe founded the Royal Institution for the Deaf as a charity in 1892 after being inspired to dedicate his life to helping deaf people when, at the age of 21, he met a deaf man called Jack.
At the end of the 19th century, deaf people were often treated miserably and the institution was very progressive for its time.