MILITARY wives who work at a Dorset school have been inspired to tell their stories by new film Military Wives.

Bovington Academy is just yards from Bovington Camp, a British Army military base that focuses on training.

For many of the wives of the soldiers based there, it is not a choir that provides them with a sense of purpose, an opportunity to support their community or a release from their worries. It is the classrooms of Bovington Academy where they work as teachers or Learning Support Assistants.

They are thrilled Military Wives became a box office hit before cinemas closed due to the coronavirus outbreak and turned a spotlight on the women, regarded by many as the unsung heroes of the military community.

The film is based on the real-life story of an all-female choir on a military base which was set up in 2010 to help the women cope with the pressures of their husbands being away fighting wars.

It has inspired the military wives at Bovington Academy to reveal why the pastoral support they provide military families is so crucial.

Lowry Stone is Pastoral Lead. Married to former tank commander Rocky Stone, who is now a lecturer in driver and mechanics at Bovington Camp, they have one daughter Eleanor, 30.

She said: “We are serving the community and we are kindred spirits. Our school is so fundamental to these families. We get many parents who come through the school gates who tell us that they don’t know what to do in a certain situation or they need help.

“As military wives we understand what this all feels like – we’ve all been there and we’re happy to do whatever we can to help and support so that the children can carry on coming into school.

“Sometimes a child might say, ‘I can’t remember what my mummy smells like’ or they might be worried about a parent not coming back home – we can help take the pressure off those children because we understand what they are going through.”

Sarah Brunskill, a teacher at the academy, is married to Major Charles Brunskill and they have two children Harry, 7, and Isabella, 8.

She said: “When military children come in you have to break down those barriers very quickly especially if they might have a short period of time within this school. The children have to get to know people just like we do as adults having to get to know the area. You have to be mindful of their experiences - they might not have seen one of their parents for a good while and we understand those stresses and strains.”

Vicky Smith, 38, is a Learning Support Assistant and has two sons, Dylan, seven and Aiden, four. She is married to Andrew Smith, a WO2.

She said: “Some people think it’s really glamorous that you’re married to a soldier and it’s amazing and it is – you’re so proud of what they do - but being a military wife is actually hard work and it’s tough.

“The school knows there are extra needs when it comes to military children – they have specific ones. Especially at Bovington because it has such a high turnover. Families usually start with a two year posting and then go. So you get children who when they come here may have moved many times before and they know they’re only here for two years and then off again.”

“Life is amazing. I love every single minute of it here, every single minute of being at the school! I love everyone who works here at Bovington Academy.”