SCHOOLCHILDREN have been planting poppy seeds in remembrance of those who died during the Great War.

Poppy seeds have been sent to schools in the country as part of the commemorations for the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

And it is expected that tens of thousands will be sown by children, junior soldiers, civic leaders, community organisation, clergy and faith groups as a joint act of remembrance.

The poppy planting programme at SS Simon and Jude’s CE Primary was launched by Canon Maurice Smith, the diocesan director of education for the Manchester Diocese, and his colleague Rev Peter Hullah, the Church of England's national advisor on academies.

Headteacher of the Great Lever school, Simon Bramwell, said: “The children planting and nurturing these seeds to be a sea of red poppies will serve as a practical reminder of the sacrifice of others for the way of life we enjoy today.

"The seeds planted by the Key stage one Gardening Club are the variety known as ‘Flanders Poppies’.

“They have been planted in our memorial bed where we have a cherry tree in memory of a well-loved lunchtime supervisor Mrs Jariwala who sadly died after a long illness last year after many years service to the school.”

Bishop of Bolton Rt Rev Chris Edmondson visited St Mark’s CE Primary School in Worsley to help children plant the seeds while the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend David Walker, visited Horwich Parish CE School.

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.

It 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.

Other planned remembrance events include 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.