Poetry to remember fallen military heroes

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Young poets proved they had a way with words when it comes to paying tribute to the armed forces in a special school project.

The year five class at Gilded Hollins Primary School in Leigh wrote verses responding to the famous poem In Flanders Fields as part of the remembrance commemorations.

I was so impressed by the quality of the poems and how deeply they had thought about the subject and written from perspectives other than their own.

Teacher Lisa Whittaker

The youngsters were inspired by a visit from Royal British Legion member Keith Houghton MBE, who told them about why poppies are worn and the sacrifices military personnel make.

The project reached further than the classroom as 10-year-old writer Katie Coates’ poem was of such high quality that is has now been published by a national magazine aimed at the armed forces community.

Class teacher and Gilded Hollins assistant head Lisa Whittaker said: “They were inspired a lot by the veterans who came in to do a whole school assembly and speak to the children. They also brought in a book pupils at another school had done and I think ours wanted to make a better one.

“I was so impressed by the quality of the poems and how deeply they had thought about the subject and written from perspectives other than their own.

“I think it was impressive how well they empathised with people from that time, and for Katie there can be no greater credit than having other people reading her work and enjoying it.”

Katie had her poem Souls in the Field published in Army and You magazine and on its website after showing it to her auntie, armed forces advocate Linda Fisher who runs the Facebook support page Shoulder To Soldier.

Linda said she was deeply moved by the poem’s descriptions of a recovering soldier lying in a hospital bed and dwelling on the scars they have brought back from conflict.

She said: “I thought the poem was so powerful and cleverly written. I’m obviously a bit biased as her auntie so I recorded her and put it on social media to see if it hit home with other people too and it was really positively received.

“She’s picked up about hidden injuries, which is very topical, and I think she’s got a real talent for poetry. We must make sure our children relate to the armed forces families and remember the sacrifices they make so it’s great that at her age Katie’s promoting and raising awareness of the military.

“I’m really proud of her and so is her mum Angela. Katie’s quite proud of herself too but I think she’s also a bit embarrassed.”