Primary school children from Oasis Academy Short Heath made the quick trip down to Witton Lakes in Perry Common, to sow a ring of red poppy seeds in honour of those who fought in the First World War.
The children, all aged between 5 and 6, were excited and enthusiastic to sow the seeds to remember the War, which ended 100 years ago. Readers familiar with the stunning scenery of Witton Lakes will be aware of the natural football pitch between the Upper Lake and Perry Common Road, which provided a wonderful spot to sow the seeds.
Walking in pairs, hand in hand, the group of 60 children arrived in high spirits and painted a joyful picture. Such a peaceful sight was made all the more poignant by the occasion.
The weather was warm and sunny, thanks to the recent mini heat wave. “It’s like Dubai!” beamed a pupil named Bilal. His friends agreed and got stuck in to the process of scattering the seeds on pre-prepared ground, listening carefully to the instructions of their teachers, Park Keeper George from Glendale Services, and volunteers including Linda Hines MBE, Chair of volunteer group Friends of Witton Lakes.
Despite their young age, the children demonstrated a great deal of insight and understanding of World War One, and the purpose of planting the poppy seeds in remembrance. “They had guns, and an army, and they had to shoot the other people,” explained Alfie, a Year 1 pupil. “It was very dangerous, and sometimes they got a medal,” chipped in fellow pupil Daisy. Their responses are thoughtfully shared, conveying an understanding of the terrible task faced by the soldiers and an appreciation for the peace in which we now live. Some pupils know older relatives such as grandparents with military backgrounds, and they share their stories with the rest of their classmates.
The seed swing is part of a drive to involve children from local schools in three distinct aims:
1. Remembrance and commemoration of sacrifice
2. Care of public spaces and a sense of collective ownership
3. Fun in nature and care for the environment
The activities, which in future will also involve litter picking and sowing wild flowers, were coordinated by the ‘Friends of Witton Lakes’, who take on an active role in the upkeep and wellbeing of the lakes and surrounding park. Linda Hines MBE, Chair of the Friends group, was out with the children and said: “I think it’s really exciting that the children can come and actually sow the seeds – and every time they come back they’ll see the wonderful flowers and red poppies. They’ll be proud that they were part of it.”
If you’d like to get involved in voluntary activities around Perry Common, Birmingham, please contact Witton Lodge Community Association on 0121 382 1930 or log onto www.wittonlodge.org.uk for more information.