Schoolchildren plant poppy seeds at home of British Prime Minister to remember First World War

Posted on centenarynews.com on 28 April 2014
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Schoolchildren planted poppy seeds in the garden of Number 10 Downing Street, the home of the British Prime Minister, to remember the First World War.

They were joined by Prime Minister David Cameron and new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid to encourage others to sow seeds across Britain to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war.

The Royal British Legion have launched an education kit for schools containing a packet of Flanders poppy seeds. The schools pack has been made possible with a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Programme

David Cameron said: “The First World War centenary programme is about recognition and remembrance, focusing particularly on young people and helping them make a connection with the events that changed the world a century ago. 

“This Poppy initiative is a great idea that will help the next generation understand the significance of what happened during the First World War and commemorate the sacrifice of those who died.”

One of the children, Thomas, a schoolboy from The Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, Southwark,  London, said: “It was very exciting to come to Number 10 Downing Street. We have planted poppies to remember those who fought for us in the war. And it has been 100 years since the world war started because it started in 1914 and it is now 2014. So we decided to come to Downing Street and plant some poppies.”

May and June are ideal planting times to ensure the flowers bloom by August 4th, the date that war was declared 100 years ago. The public can buy the Royal British Legion poppy seeds at B&Q stores nationwide, with a £1 donation going to the work of the Legion.

Poppy campaign

As part of the Legion's Centenary Poppy Campaign, the Lottery funded project will enable schools across the UK to plant poppies in their school grounds.

In addition to the seeds 500 volunteer Remembrance Ambassadors will be trained over the next year to help young people explore the many stories of the First World War and increase their understanding of Remembrance and the significance of the Poppy.

The campaign was the idea of members of the Legion’s Greenhithe and Swanscombe Branch and has been rolled out nationally.

Charles Byrne, Director of Fundraising, Royal British Legion, said: "Remembrance and the Poppy is an important part of British life and culture and this campaign not only allows every school in the UK to participate in Centenary commemorations but importantly passes the torch of Remembrance on to a new generation."

Remembrance

Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, added: “The poppy is a powerful symbol of remembrance and this is a wonderful example of how a local community initiative can help shape our national commemorations. I hope that young people in schools enjoy sowing the poppy seeds and watching them flourish and that it provides them with a vibrant connection between past and present generations.”

Information from Department of Culture, Media and Sport and  Heritage Lottery Fund.

Posted by: Mike Swain, Centenary News