The Mayor of Wellingborough, Cllr Barry Graves, will be joined by local school children next week to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.
Cllr Graves will be hosting a tea party on Monday 15 June in the mayor’s parlour as part of parliament’s LiberTeas initiative. He will be joined by pupils from Wrenn School, who are working on a Magna Carta project as part of a programme to improve literacy skills.
Magna Carta, which was agreed on 15 June 1215, was the first document to put into writing that the king and his government were not above the law.
The aim of the LiberTeas project is described as “a simultaneous celebration of freedom and rights.”
Cllr Graves said: “Magna Carta laid down the basis for law and democracy, and became the foundation stone of liberties enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people in more than 100 countries around the world. It established the principle that no one is above the law and it paved the way for trial by jury. To many people it is seen as the beginning of freedoms that, through hundreds of years of development, now manifests as the considerable rights we have today.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the young people’s projects and talking to them about this and what it means to them. We’re not just celebrating Magna Carta. It’s a journey that’s still ongoing and evolving and I’m interested to see what the next generation think about what freedoms they consider important and what life would be like without some of the rights we all take for granted today, as well as what more they think needs to be done.
“It’s a unique opportunity to encourage debate and encourage participation in the democratic process and I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about over our cups of tea.”
Daniel Baxby, deputy head teacher at Wrenn School, said: “Although this document was signed 800 years ago, it is important that we revisit the reason for its existence and its appropriateness to life in the 21st century. Many of the themes about liberty, the right to own property and trial by peers are valid today, especially when some countries are in the grasp of conflict about the protection of these ideals.
“This type of investigation places students outside of their normal comfort zone and is an ideal way to encourage them to develop their own skills.”
The mayor’s civic service, which takes place on Sunday 14 June at St Nicholas Church in Great Doddington, will also form part of the national celebrations, as parliament has asked that bells simultaneously ring at 3pm on Sunday to mark the occasion.