Schoolgirl Julie goes AWOL to pay tribute to a hero

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An eight-year-old girl risked a hefty fine from her school to visit the grave of Wolverton war hero Albert French.

Caring Julie Campbell was determined to travel to Ploegsteert in Belgium so she could read a poem out at the grave of the 16-year-old soldier.

But when mum Joanne asked if Julie could have a day off from lessons for the history-rich trip, the answer was no.

Teachers at Neath Hill’s Brooksward school said they could not authorise absences for trips classed as educational.

“To be fair the school was very nice. It’s not their fault – it’s just the rules,” said Joanne, who chairs the Wolverton Ploegsteert twinning committee.

“T hey agreed not to fine us but still marked down the absence as unauthorised,”

“Julie is fascinated by the story of Albert French, who lied about his age so he could join the army,

“The trip was the most amazing lesson in history she could possibly have.

The Greenleys pair met Albert’s niece, Ann Lees-Smith.

Ann said:“Julie is a great ambassador of today’s youth and one hopes that her school uses her valuable experience as a lesson to her classmates.

Julie is now busy learning to play the cornet – just so she can join Wolverton band in a memorial parade.