Fields of red prepared to the mark First World War

Sowing poppy seads
Sowing poppy seads

Swathes of poppy seeds have been sown on a town’s green in memory of those who died in the First World War.

The seeds were scattered on Millennium Green and in the Stotfold Watermill Local Nature Reserve on Saturday (April 5).

Members of Stotfold’s conservation group, Teasel, were joined by the Stotfold and Arlesey branch of the Royal British Legion, representatives of Stotfold Town Council and staff and pupils from St Mary’s Academy. The lower school is adjacent to Millennium Green so the youngsters will be able to enjoy seeing the poppies.

Mayor Brian Collier started the proceedings with a brief address in which he described how almost every family in the country was affected by the tragic events of the First World War.

He spoke of his 21-year-old uncle Frank, who died at the Somme in 1916, three days before the battle ended.

Frank is one of more than 72,000 men who have no known grave and are honoured on the Thiepval memorial in northern France.

Pupils from St Mary’s then read the evocative poem, In Flanders Fields, before the seeds were scattered.

Sam Bishop, headteacher at St Mary’s, said: “Sowing the poppies was a lovely way for the children to be involved in the commemoration of the start of the First World War and to be able to begin to understand the sacrifices others made so long ago.

“We look forward to watching the poppies grow.”

Following the sowing, Andy Fieviz, the chair of the local legion branch recited the words that have become familiar from many memorial events; “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

This was followed by a minute’s silence.

Pamela Manfield, secretary of Teasel, said: “This was a very moving morning.

“All of us, especially the children, enjoyed the seed sowing but we were also very aware of the tragic reason why this was being done – in memory of so many who gave their lives for their country.”

Have you got special plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War?

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