Pupils are asked to submit a poem on the theme of the surviving tree in return for the chance to receive a commemorative hornbeam sapling and plaque for their school. Entries will be judged by a panel including Tom Wyre, Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate 2013-14; Spoz Esposito, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2006/07, and Amerah Saleh, a young spoken word artist, plus Arboretum staff and volunteers.
“Tens of thousands of people made the ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of the Somme – the bloodiest battle in British history,” said Sarah Montgomery, managing director of the Arboretum. “As the centenary of this conflict approaches, we believe it is very important to help children understand what happened and commemorate it.
“We aim to educate and inspire children through a variety of creative and interactive events and activities, beginning with our poetry competition. We hope that many schools will take the opportunity to get involved by taking part in the competition, or by joining in one of our events.”
A total of 100 trees will be presented to schools to mark the centenary. Each of the schools will also receive a Royal British Legion Remember the Battle of the Somme 1916-2016 toolkit, so they can hold their own remembrance service. The toolkit forms part of the Legion’s package of Somme 100 activities, which also includes a free app, developed in partnership with Dan Snow, that is available to download at iTunes and Google Play.
Competition entries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 17th June and entitled Somme 100: Hornbeams for 100 schools, followed by the school’s key stage category.
Successful entrants will be announced on Friday 1st July, and saplings may be collected from the Arboretum between July 2 and November 18th 2016.