A LAKE District school has collected more than a million buttons as part of an ongoing project to commemorate the estimated 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust.

The Lakes School at Troutbeck Bridge, near Windermere, launched its memorial campaign, ‘B’s Buttons’, late last year following a visit from Jewish Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh.

Hersh was among the 300 children, known collectively as ‘the Windermere Boys’, who found refuge at the Calgarth Estate in 1945. This site is currently home to the Lakes School.

Following Mr Hersh’s visit, history teacher Laura Oram invited students to design a memorial to those killed. A year 10 student suggested buttons be collected to represent each child that perished.

Ms Oram told The Westmorland Gazette that children cheered when it was announced on Monday that they had surpassed the million buttons milestone.

She estimated that the Lakes School has already received the 1.5 million buttons required to reach its goal, however many remain to be counted.

In fact, with more than eight pallets filled with buttons collected in synagogues across London and St Albans and still to be delivered to the school, she speculated they may even gather double the amount of buttons required for the project.

“People from all over the world have been keen to contribute,” Ms Oram said, with communities in countries including Australia, Mexico, Israel and the USA donating to the memorial.

Among the largest donors is a Women’s Institute in the Isle of Man, which donated approximately 93,000 buttons.

A community group in Parkland, Florida, also contributed around 26,000 buttons, a donation Ms Oram described as “very poignant” in the wake of the school shooting which claimed 17 lives in February.

Although organised prior to the shooting by the daughter of one of ‘the Windermere Boys’, the collection and counting continued even after the tragedy, seeing members of the local community come together to commemorate young lives lost.