Tens of thousands of poppy seeds will be sown this week by schoolchildren, junior soldiers, civic leaders, clergy, faith groups and community organisations as a joint act of remembrance to mark the centenary of the First World War.
In Leeds, letters home from a Leeds Pal who joined Kitchener’s Call to Arms will be read out at a poppy planting ceremony in a city centre park with schoolchildren, civic and faith leaders including the new Bishop of Leeds for the newly created Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, who will bless the proceedings.
He said: “A century is not a long time, but only 100 years ago the world fell apart in the most violent way. This simple act of growing poppies reminds us of our past and is a very visual way of pledging ourselves to serve together in the future.”
In Dewsbury, Australian relatives of a First World War soldier buried in St John’s churchyard will be the guests of honour as they join local schoolchildren to sow seeds together and in Harrogate, junior soldiers from the army training camp will plant poppy seeds in the camp’s memorial garden with the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd James Bell.
Church Leaders in the Oxford Diocese have sent packets of poppies to every church and church school and this week children and families will sow seeds along with relatives of soldiers from the First World War.
In Exeter packets of the special Northlew poppies have been sent to 500 churches and church schools to help the Devon village of Northlew plant a 20 mile poppy avenue along the route their men marched off to war and to build a community memorial shop. The village lost proportionally more men in the conflict than anywhere else.
In Manchester packets of poppy seeds have been sent to every church school and in Portsmouth, the Cathedral has organised a huge poppy planting event.
Hundreds of packets of poppy seeds have been sent to every church and church school by church leaders in the newly created diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales and everyone is being urged to plant their poppy seeds this week to mark their identity as a new diocese together and remember all those who lost their lives in the Great War.