HUNDREDS of poppies will bloom across Bolton to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One.

Bolton Council has announced it will provide community groups, schools and residents associations bags of seeds to plant ahead of the borough-wide remembrance services later this year.

The plans have already been backed by Bolton Veterans Association and Bolton Parish Church, who will be planting poppy seeds in its church yard in Silverwell Street.

Leader of the council Cllr Cliff Morris launched the scheme at Heaton Fold Garden Centre, where groups will be able to drop in and pick up the seeds throughout April.

He said by planting the Flanders poppy seeds — the symbol associated with World War One — people will take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians during the conflict.

He added: “It’s a great idea. By seeing these poppy fields across the borough, it will help us to remember World War One and all those who died.

“We will see poppy fields spring up in schools, cemeteries, parks and many other community spaces across Bolton.”

Each of the 50g bags of seeds cover up to 25 square metres, with hundreds of flowers blooming as a result.

In the early months of World War One, raging battles on the Western Front in northern France tore up the ground, meaning the poppy was the only flower to grow. The flower became a lasting symbol of the conflicts after Canadian surgeon John McCrae wrote the poem In Flanders Fields and it came to represent remembrance of those who gave their lives in sacrifice to their country.

The poppy was formally adopted by the Royal British Legion as a symbol of the Poppy Appeal after its formation in 1921.

A range of remembrance events are planned throughout 2014 to recognise the centenary of World War One, including exhibitions at Bolton Museum, a large service for Armed Forces Day in June and a commemorative service for the start of the conflict in Victoria Square in August.