A line of respect - Poppy seeds planted alongside railway to mark centenary of First World War

A line of respect - Poppy seeds planted alongside railway to mark centenary of First World War

line up: Looking towards Dorchester West station

PLANTERS: From left: Catherine Phillips Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership, Nicholas Reid, Trowbridge Station manager, John Beeden B&Q, Dr Andrew Murrison MP and Chris Morrison B&Q

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

THE first seeds have been planted in a project to mark the First World War centenary along the Weymouth to Bristol line.

Volunteers have joined forces with home improvement store B&Q for a scheme which will see poppy seeds planted on the route of the western region branch line and at 14 stations.

In Dorset, there are plans to plant seeds at sites including Weymouth, Upwey, Dorchester West and Thornford.

The plan is for the flowers to bloom this summer, in time for the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

It is part of a national initiative from B&Q which is selling Royal British Legion poppy seeds to support the Legion’s Centenary Poppy Campaign to swathe the country in red flowers by sowing millions of seeds.

The scenic Weymouth to Bristol railway, known as the Heart of Wessex line, is served by First Great Western trains.

The first seeds were planted at Trowbridge station in Wiltshire in a ceremony witnessed by local MP Dr Andrew Murrison who is the Prime Minister’s special representative for the Centenary Commemoration of the First World War.

Catherine Phillips, from the Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership, which supports the line, said: “The voluntary and community groups who make up our rail partnership were looking for a way to mark this centenary together, and the idea of poppies in various locations along the railway line was an idea everyone loved.

“When we heard about B&Q Flanders Poppy it seemed to be made for us, as it means that we can also make a contribution to the British Legion.”

Dr Murrison said: “This project will be a highly visible part of commemorating the centenary and B&Q, the British Legion and the Heart of Wessex Line must be congratulated for their hard work.”

The Flanders poppy seeds are currently on sale in B&Q stores. One packet costs £2 and each pack sold supports British Armed Forces, past and present, and their families.

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