Schoolchildren help sow seeds of Somme centenary poppy field

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The Lagan Rivers Trust last week joined forces with local schoolchildren to sow the seeds of a Seymour Hill poppy field marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Trust secretary Trevor Ogborn, said: “In the spring of 2015 Lagan Rivers Trust signed over custodianship of the riverside community woodland in Seymour Hill from the Woodland Trust.

“In late summer Lagan Rivers Trust proposed a project which we think will improve the site and the general amenity value of the area for local people.

“This proposal included making a new riverside path and seeding new wildflower meadows along the existing path. “

It was as part of those plans, said Mr Ogborn, that they decided to create a small Remembrance Poppy field to mark the centenary of the WWI Battle of the Somme.

“Volunteer work progressed through the autumn,” he added, “and we now have a plot of land prepared for sowing the poppy seeds.

“We were pleased to have some Seymour Hill Primary School pupils visit the plot and, with some of our volunteers and councillors, scatter some seeds.

“It was a very muddy event which the children enjoyed fully.

“We finished off with some refreshments, helped by contributions from local businesses.

“Hopefully, by next summer, we will see an area of red poppies to welcome you to the woodland.

“As preparation for the Centenary Poppy field, I contacted Mr Matthew Gamble, an expert from the Somme Museum, who kindly came along to tell the P7 children the story of the Poppy and the Somme.”

The Lagan Rivers Trust, whose interests are withplant and animal life along and around the riverside, is also looking at the possibility of a slightly more ambitious project involving the poppy field for next June and Trevor is certain it will be something the local school and children will like.

“We hope to work closely with the school in the future, in a safe environment, to show all the great things the river has to offer,” he said.

“We do fishing, bug sampling, birds, all kinds of wildlife, plants and trees, and we make it fun.

“Some of our potential future projects around the Seymour Hill Riverside Woodland area include clean-up days in March/April, some woodland days with the Scouts and BB, a ‘trout/salmon in the classroom’ project with the school, some bug days on the river and an introduction to angling or canoeing day.