Schoolchildren in Portsmouth mark Remembrance Day with poppy art installation

TALENTED schoolchildren in the city are paying their respects to those lost in wars with a striking art installation.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 4:26 pm

The entrance to the Ark Ayrton Primary Academy, in Somers Road, has been transformed with handcrafted poppies cascading over its wall in honour of Remembrance Sunday.

Each pupil – from reception to year six – made at least one poppy to become a part of the display, which was attached to the building with a net by firefighters from Southsea Fire Station, which sits opposite the school.

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School children, from left, Maks Sikarjov, 8, Robson Yusef, 10, Fatima Hassawi, 9, Bella-Mae Mills, 6, Brooke Tappenden, 8, and Fri Achiri, 9, with firefighters, rear, left to right, firefighter Nico Razzell, firefighter Bill Cutler and crew manager Jamie Kelly with the children's Remembrance poppy installation at Ark Ayrton Priamry Academy, Somers Road, Southsea. The fire service helped with the installation work at the school Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 101121-)

Head of school, Sophie Bennett-Acres, said: ‘We always do something every year for Remembrance Day and this year it was the idea of staff to try to recreate the poppy display at the Tower of London – so we’ve created our own “Tower of Ayrton” display.

‘For us is it just so important that the children learn about Remembrance Day and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Now we have fewer people alive from the wartime generations it’s important we keep that memory alive.’

Year six student Robson Yusef, 10, created his poppy using colouring pencils. He said: ‘It’s important we remember those who fought in the wars to make our lives better.’

Nine-year-old Tyler Kelly, from year six, made a total of 11 poppies for the display, including seven red ones and four purple ones.

Crew from Southsea Fire Station helping assemble the poppy art installation at Ayrton Ark Academy

‘My teacher told me that purple poppies are there to represent all the animals that died in the wars,’ he said.

‘So I wanted us to remember them as well.’

To mark the occasion the whole school has also gone off-timetable for a week to learn more about past wars and Remembrance Day.

Crew from Southsea Fire Station helping assemble the poppy art installation at Ayrton Ark Academy

As part of it year five student Fatima Hassawi, nine, learnt about the John McCrae poem, In Flanders Fields.

She said: ‘We watched a video showing the soldiers running through the mud and there were explosions going off.

‘We had to write about it ourselves and used the five senses to describe what was happening.’

Her peer, Maleleel Achiri, nine, added: ‘I think it’s important because other people died to give others a good life in the future and we should thank them for that.’

Crew from Southsea Fire Station helping assemble the poppy art installation at Ayrton Ark Academy

The poppy display will remain in place until Monday, November 15.

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Crew from Southsea Fire Station helping assemble the poppy art installation at Ayrton Ark Academy