Plant a poppy and mark the centenary of World War One

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A local MLA is encouraging us all to mark the centenary of the first World War.

David McClarty and his parliamentary assistant Claire Sugden, are offering schools and community groups the chance to plant their own poppy seeds in a bid to mark the important anniversary.

In August, it will be 100 years since the start of the war.

Taking up the story, Coleraine councillor, Claire Sugden explained: “It was actually an idea David’s wife Norma came up with.

“So we purchased one kilo of poppy seeds and have sPlit them up into 500 packets. The idea is to get people thinking about the anniversary, and to encourage them to plant the seeds.

“Everyone in the Coleraine area has ancestors or knows of someone that was involved in the First World War, but today we still have troops heading off to Afghanistan, putting their lives on the line for their country.

“Now is the time to plant the seeds as the ground begins to heat up, so we’re encouraging as many members of the community to come along and get their seeds.”

Of course, the poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day.

But in 1914, the start of World War One, the poppy was the only flower to grow in the barren battlefields.

Claire explained: “The poppy is a very small delicate flower, but it has shown its resilience growing in the face of war.

“It has come to represent the sacrifice made by men and women in wars right up to the present day, so we hope that by giving out these seeds it will get people of all ages talking about war and the repercussions that are still felt today.”

Anyone wishing to collect a packet of poppy seeds should call at David McClarty’s constituency office at Abbey Street in Coleraine. The seeds will be given away free, but any donations made will go to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

Coleraine Council are planning a series of events to mark the anniversary. This programme is in partnership with a number of agencies within the Borough, including the Royal British Legion and Causeway Museum Service.