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Children honour fallen heroes during poignant First World War commemorations

PUBLISHED: 17:04 08 November 2018

Roman Hill Primary School pupils lay poppy crosses at Lowestoft cemetery. Picture: Mick Howes

Roman Hill Primary School pupils lay poppy crosses at Lowestoft cemetery. Picture: Mick Howes

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Poppy crosses have been laid on about 100 war graves across Lowestoft during poignant ceremonies.

Poppy crosses are laid by the Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy pupils at St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft. Picture: Northfield St Nicholas Primary AcademyPoppy crosses are laid by the Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy pupils at St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft. Picture: Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy

With thousands of schoolchildren across Suffolk gathering to mark the end of the First World War, poppy crosses were laid simultaneously at special ceremonies in cemeteries and at war memorials across the county on Thursday, November 8.

This was the culmination of the Suffolk War Graves Project, which has been organised by the Royal British Legion, and has the backing of Suffolk’s Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston, to enable the county’s children to understand more about the First World War and its effect on everyone.

At Lowestoft Cemetery in Normanston Drive, year six pupils from Roman Hill Primary School were joined by the mayor of Lowestoft Ian Graham, Lowestoft town councillors, local military historian Dr John Greenacre and a standard bearer from the Royal British Legion Lowestoft and District Branch.

An emblem laid by the Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy pupils at St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft. Picture: Northfield St Nicholas Primary AcademyAn emblem laid by the Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy pupils at St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft. Picture: Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy

Here, the children laid poppy crosses and emblems on 95 graves to commemorate the town’s fallen, ahead of a two minute silence at 11am.

Town mayor Ian Graham said: “There are 95 graves from the First World War in this cemetery and many more military graves – which perhaps a lot of people in Lowestoft will not realise.

“Events like this ensure that these people are not forgotten.”

The two minutes silence is observed at Lowestoft cemetery. Picture: Mick HowesThe two minutes silence is observed at Lowestoft cemetery. Picture: Mick Howes

With the parish church of Lowestoft at St Margaret’s churchyard containing some First World War graves, young people from Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy laid poppies as part of the commemorations.

Rev Michael Asquith, rector of St Margaret’s Church, said: “It was great to be able to welcome Thomas Freeman (Head Boy) and Olivia-Mae Clarke (Head Girl) from Northfield St Nicholas in the national laying of poppies to commemorate those who died in the First World War and take part in a symbolic day of remembrance.”

Roger Waterson, from The British Legion and his wife Maureen Waterson from St Margaret’s congregation, commented on how respectful the pupils were as they stood silently.

Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy pupils at St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft. Picture: Northfield St Nicholas Primary AcademyNorthfield St Nicholas Primary Academy pupils at St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft. Picture: Northfield St Nicholas Primary Academy

Deputy Headteacher Terri Freeman said: “Respect is a key feature of our school values; there is no better way to learn respect than to be part of something which emanates self sacrifice.”

Olivia said: “I was honoured to represent the school.”

Thomas added: “I felt proud to be laying the poppies.”

Roman Hill Primary School pupils lay poppy crosses at Lowestoft cemetery. Picture: Mick HowesRoman Hill Primary School pupils lay poppy crosses at Lowestoft cemetery. Picture: Mick Howes

Poppies were laid on Suffolk’s Great War graves in 247 cemeteries across the county. More than 10,000 people from the county were killed on the battlefields of the First World War.

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