For as long a I can remember, the First World War has been a large part of my life. My father has been touring the battlefields of the First World War for 35 years and he started taking me as soon as I was old enough. I have warm memories of spending Saturdays at militaria fairs spending my pocket money and learning from my Dad. The bookcase is bulging with related works and I was delighted to learn from the best at the University of Birmingham. My Godfather is a well known author, academic and tour guide, so for me the First World War has always been a large part of my life.
But there is another infamous part of history that has fascinated and horrified me for a long time.
In 2007 I was privileged to take part in the 'Lessons from Auschwitz' project, a programme run by the Holocaust Educational Trust, giving students the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, Poland.
No one that visits the death camp can leave and say the experience hasn't left some sort of a mark.
Whilst at Auschwitz I captured the day on video and went back to produce a film about my experiences, a film that is frequently used by teachers as an aide in the classroom. Ever since that day in March, I have been an Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET).
HET is a UK based charity that seeks through its extensive work to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and ensure that young people grow up knowing and understanding about the time in history that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews and countless millions of others who were undesirable to the Nazi regime.
HET trains teachers in schools across the UK, produces educational material for students, provides the opportunity for students to travel to Auschwitz and works with Parliament and the media to help spread understanding of the Holocaust.
One of the most important areas of their work also, is in taking Holocaust survivors to groups to share their stories and experiences. The most humbling, thought provoking and moving experiences of my life has been listening to Holocaust survivors. I have heard the harrowing stories of many survivors, but each individual I have met has been a warm, loving, forgiving wonderful human being.
And it is for those people that I write this post. In a couple of weeks it will be my birthday and what I'd really like this year, is for my network of friends to donate £1 for this wonderful charity. HET combines our love of history with a vital need to share this history with others. You can help here: