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Selby Train Crash

To acknowledge and allow expression of concern within the school community. To allay fears of accidents. To put the even into perspective through the

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To acknowledge and allow expression of concern within the school community. To allay fears of accidents. To put the event into perspective through the use of a psalm.

Preparation and materials

  • Be aware of the latest facts in the story of the train crash.
  • Be aware if any children have relatives or friends involved in the accident – this assembly is for a general audience and is not suitable for those with closer involvement.
  • Choose which version of Psalm 23 to use (see 4. below).

Assembly

1. Discuss the recent railway accident near Selby, asking the children for details and filling in any blanks yourself. Draw out the following:

  • A passenger train collided with a freight train near Selby in North Yorkshire.
  • Many people were injured, some seriously and some people have died.

Add other details, perhaps reading a brief report from a newspaper or from the Internet.

Please note: The news story will have moved on since this assembly was written and more details will be available. Try BBC News online at www.bbc.co.uk/news or you could try Newsround at www.bbc.co.uk/newsround

2. Put the crash into perspective to calm any fears. Ask how many children have ever been on a train. Ask them to put their hands up. Then ask how many of them have ever been in a train accident. If any put their hands up, ask for details to establish if this was really the case. Point out that we very rarely hear about train accidents because there are so few, but when they do happen they can, like this one, be very serious.

3. Ask about who came to help: the emergency services, police, fire, ambulance; railway workers; doctors and nurses. Say that in a quiet moment we will all remember the workers and those hurt in the crash with some simple words.

We think of people in hospital after the train crash.

We think of their relatives and the relatives of those who have died.

We think of everyone who is frightened, worried and confused by what has happened.

We say thank you for those who have survived.

We say thank you for all who helped at the scene: emergency services, railway workers, doctors, nurses and police.

We say thank you that such terrible accidents are rare.

Together we say, Amen.

4. Point out that all through history people have had to cope with difficult times and tragic accidents. Many people find help in a very old poem or hymn that is still said and sung today – Psalm 23. It talks about God being our friend and being with us even when things get very dark and we might feel frightened. You can then go straight to singing the psalm, using the traditional words, read a modern translation of it, or use one of our paraphrases below.

God looks after me, like a shepherd looks after sheep,

and I have everything I need.

Like a shepherd leading her sheep to quiet pools,

And green grass – so God looks after me.

God gives me new strength,

God guides me to do the right thing,

God has promised to do this.

Even when things get very bad

– worse than I ever imagined – I will not be afraid,

Because I know you are with me.

Like a shepherd you guide and protect me.

Your love is like a fantastic feast,

Full of good things,

And I know you will be with me all my life.

Your house will be my home as long as I live.

This next version uses different imagery for those not familiar with the shepherd allusion.

God looks after me, like a mother looks after her children,

and I have everything I need.

Like a father taking his little children to a safe playground,

With space to play safely – so God looks after me.

God gives me new strength,

God guides me to do the right thing,

God has promised to do this.

Even when things get very bad

– worse than I ever imagined – I will not be afraid,

Because I know you are with me.

Like a parent you guide and protect me.

Your love is like a fantastic feast,

Full of good things,

And I know you will be with me all my life.

Your house will be my home as long as I live.

Song/music

‘The Lord's My Shepherd’ (Come and Praise 56).

Publication date: 2001   (Vol.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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