Schools are being asked to dig for victory in a new competition to design a memorial garden remembering the lives lost in World War One.
The contest for Wigan’s primary schools, which marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, has been devised by Carl Fisher, a member of the Wigan branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL).
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The competition is also a touching tribute to two lives more recently lost in the armed forces as the winning school will receive the Sgt Steven Darbyshire and Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux Memorial Shield.
The award remembers a marine who died in 2010 when his patrol came under heavy gunfire and a submariner who was tragically murdered by a fellow crew member.
The relatives of both fallen heroes have given their full backing to the competition.
So far Carl has convinced a dozen schools to take part and is now looking for more teachers and pupils to come up with poignant and unusual ways of remembering those killed between 1914 and 1918.
However, the designs should also include somewhere the red flowers that have been linked to remembrance of war since being the subject of the famous poem In Flanders Fields.
He said: “It’s 100 years since the First World War ended and we want the schools to make a memorial garden with poppies.
“With the competition being judged in November it will probably be quite cold so schools can use artificial poppies or ones made from plastic bottles.
“The gardens can commemorate anybody who has been killed in war in the last 100 years. We would like to see names included in the garden.
“We think one school is asking all parents and grandparents if they had anybody in the war. They’re then planning to make hanging baskets for the memorial garden.
“I’m just trying to get the word out now to more schools, going round with leaflets and talking about the competition on social media.”
It is hoped that the memorial contest will become an annual event in future.
Carl said he hopes creating the garden will boost interest in the events of a century ago among young Wiganers.
He said: “It’s very important for the kids to know about the war and get involved to remember those who died.”
Schools wanting to create a memorial garden can contact Carl by ringing 07905 376710.