THE National Memorial Arboretum is inviting pupils to put their creative talents to the test in a poetry competition inspired by a tree that became a poignant symbol of hope during the Battle of the Somme.

The hornbeam tree was the only one left standing in Delville Wood, northern France, after the area was flattened during two months of heavy fighting, and UK schools are encouraged to submit poems about it for a chance to receive a commemorative hornbeam sapling and plaque.

A panel including Tom Wyre, Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate (2013-14), Spoz Esposito, Birmingham Poet Laureate (2006-07), and spoken word artist Amerah Saleh, along with Arboretum staff and volunteers, will judge entries.

One hundred 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.

Sarah Montgomery, managing director of the Arboretum, said: “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.”

Send your entries, titled Somme 100: Hornbeams for 100 schools followed by the school’s key stage category, to by Friday 17 June.

Successful entrants will be announced on Friday 1 July


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