Gorleston pupils mark Great War centenary with poignant poppy planting
09:22 05 May 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
A poignant planting ceremony brought history home for a group of youngsters as they carefully sowed thousands of poppy seeds to mark the centenary of the First World War.
The children from Ormiston Herman Academy in Gorleston gathered with members of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and Great Yarmouth mayor John Burroughs to plant the flowers, and reflect on the events of the Great War.
All year groups at the Oriel Avenue school have been studying the conflict of 1914-18 and the planting project tied their work together.
The poppies were planted in an ‘H’ shape – representing Herman – in the grounds of the school, and will now stand as a living memorial to all those killed in conflict.
Mark Thompson, vice principal, said the ceremony had provided an opportunity for generations to come together, to remember those who had lost their lives.
He added: “I’m a borough councillor and I was aware that the borough was looking to commemorate the centenary and it was really through that we thought it would be nice to bring the two together; the borough’s commemoration and the school’s work.
“And it’s making a connection between the older and younger generations in the town, and the fact we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.”
Before the planting, RBL members enjoyed a tour of the school and spoke to all year groups about the charity’s work.
The party then headed outside for the short ceremony, during which Year 6 pupils read some of the poems they had written about the First World War before a minute’s silence was observed.
Mr Thompson said the planting also provided a great insight for the youngsters about the scale of the Great War.
“We planted 28,000 poppy seeds and we asked the children ‘do you think that’s a big number?’ They all agreed and then we asked ‘do you think one million is a bigger number, and what about six million because millions lost their lives on the fields of battle’”, he said.
“And it really put it into context for them. It was very poignant, but important.”
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