The newly appointed Armed Forces Covenant Development Officer for Highland and Moray, Jo Lenihan has inspected progress with the recreation of the Tower of London’s famous poppy cascade.
The work is being done by Inverness’ Culloden Academy and Wednesday’s inspection was joined by the council’s Armed Forces and Veterans Champion, Cllr Roddy Balfour.
The ambitious project has involved staff, pupils and the wider community. An appeal for people to create and donate poppies has been a great success with local churches, primary schools, brownies, boy’s brigade, voluntary groups and individuals donating all styles of crafted poppies.
School pupils are busy attaching all the varied assortments of crafted poppies onto a 40-metre square of netting which will hang from the internal balcony of the school to mark Armistice week.
The project has harnessed classes to get involved and some larger card poppies used include war poetry while some smaller ones have the names of the fallen or of family or loved ones who serve written on them.
Creator of the project is Depute Head Tracey Lomas: "At the start of October I spent a very humbling afternoon with some of our pupils listening to the pressures they face as children of Armed Forces and Veterans families and I came up with the idea as a way for the whole school community to show our support for the Poppy appeal this year in very visual display.
"The response from pupils, organisations and the public has been amazing.
"At the start we were worried we would not have enough poppies but now the rush is on to get them all attached. People have been very creative and there is a wide variety of mediums used including paper, photographs and fabric plus crochet and knitted poppies. I would like to thank everyone for really getting behind our idea and we are all looking forward to seeing the display cascading down our atrium."
Frances Beveridge from PoppyScotland said: "It is fantastic that the academy are doing this memorial for the Scottish Poppy Appeal and going the extra mile by trying to get as many of the local schools and community groups involved. I delighted to hear that the community have come together to show their support and I look forward to seeing the poppy cascade when it is complete.
"Poppyscotland relies on public support to fund our life-changing support for the Armed Forces community and I am sure this will inspire many people to dig even deeper for this year’s Appeal"
Jo Lenihan, a dedicated Armed Forces Covenant Development Officer, works closely with personnel at RAF Lossiemouth, Kinloss Barracks and Fort George, as well as local businesses, public and third sector organisations, to make sure military families and veterans get full access to local services and support was impressed with the hard work pupils were doing.
She said: "This is a very creative and eye-catching way to get the whole school working together and I am sure all the young people, especially those children from Armed Forces and Veterans families have got a lot out of being so hands-on."