STUDENTS and staff at Chilton Trinity School in Bridgwater have created a unique and heartfelt way of remembering the many lives lost during the Holocaust.

It is estimated around six million Jews were murdered during the Second World War by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

The head of Religious Studies at Chilton, Theresa Hurst, has worked with students to embark on a huge project to collect 6.6million burnt out matchsticks to form a sculpture which will mark the snuffing out of each life.

She told the Mercury: “I had heard of a similar idea with paperclips and suggested it to the class. An ex-pupil said we should use burnt matchsticks because it was more symbolic.

“So far we have collected about 132,000 and we are determined to reach our goal. This activity enables students to wrap their minds around the sheer amount of lives lost and the reality of what happened.”

The matchsticks will be placed into a glass cubic structure around 5metres high which will be put on land at the entrance to the school to form a memorial.

Ms Hurst added: “There’s nothing like this in the UK and I think it will make a thoughtful memorial which can be visited by all.

“This will be an important learning tool to help students comprehend events where large numbers of lives have been lost.”

Over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, alongside approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men.

Former Chilton student Ellie Lewis-Beal has been organising matchstick collections at Bridgwater College, residents have been dropping them off at the school and churches have also organised collections.

The school is appealing for more people to get involved and drop off their used matchsticks at the school reception.