Opening of Open Ark at Open Academy in Memory of Frank Ames

May 27, 2022

Open Academy was pleased to mark a significant anniversary for one of their past students.

Frank Armes was lost with HMS Coventry when it was lost in action on May 25th 1982 during the Falklands war.

Principal Jon Ford said: “We have only recently become aware of our Academy’s unsung hero, thanks to the efforts of Mr Gavin Scott, a former shipmate of Frank, who has recently been campaigning to have a permanent memorial in Frank’s home city Norwich, a campaign which we fully support. Frank attended the now demolished Heartsease high school, however as Open Academy sits on the same site it is clearly the closest there is to Frank’s school. As Open Academy is a Christian Ethos school, we have always had ‘Sacred Space in the academy however recently we have re designed it become a more welcoming as a supportive space for students who are struggling for any reason to help them through their day. We have renamed it the Open Ark, to signify a place of protection.  Throughout the pandemic and now as we recover, the challenges for our young people’s mental health is more significant than ever, so we are keen to do all we can to provide support. The move to create the Open Ark is therefore an important step for us and the support we can offer to our students.”

He added: “When we heard that Frank had served on HMS Ark Royal – the ‘protector royal’ – and that Gavin was looking to mark his 40th anniversary, we have jumped at the chance to dedicate our place of protection, the Open Ark in memory of this ex student who gave is life in the protection of our country and its values.”

Open Academy is holding a room dedication service and act of remembrance in Frank Armes’ honour today, the 40th anniversary of the loss of  HMS Coventry. Standard bearers from the three services will lead The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Dr Kevin Maguire the Sheriff of Norwich, Caroline Jarrold, members of Franks family and some of his ex-shipmates along with student leaders from the Academy, to observe a two minutes silence in his honour.

A plaque will be unveiled outside the Open Ark dedicating the room to Frank’s memory.

On view in the Ark will be a new shield, The Frank Armes Unsung Hero Memorial Shield which will be awarded annually to the student who most fits the description of unsung hero at the academy from now on.

Also on view in the Open Ark, will be the memorial bench which has been created thanks to the generosity of the public who have donated to Gavin Scott’s campaign to have a permanent memorial in Frank’s name in his home city. Gavin is waiting to hear from the Local Authority where will be most appropriate a site for its permanent home.