Bellshill pupil pens poignant war memorial poem as Cumbernauld Peace Garden nears completion

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 14:46 on 11 July 2014.
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Picture: The plans for the Garden are starting to sprout up on the Garden site.

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SCHOOL pupils in Bellshill have been working hard on personal tributes to remember the local men and women who were killed in the Great War, as phase one of the construction of Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden nears completion.

Pupils from various schools in Bellshill took part in a creative writing competition, with the winner’s work to be etched onto a new bench next to the Bellshill War Memorial, outside Bellshill Academy.

Sarah Lindsay, an S2 pupil from Bellshill Academy submitted the winning entry, and her poignant poem reads: 

Soldiers who have fallen
For us during the War
With their names upon a statue
We will remember forever more

To recognise her achievement, Sarah was presented with a special plaque, by North Lanarkshire Council’s Convener of Learning and Leisure Services.

Presenting Sarah with her award, Councillor Jim Logue, Convener of Learning and Leisure Services said: "Sarah's poem is extremely moving and a fitting tribute for the town's War Memorial. All of the pupils who have taken part in this project deserve great credit for the quality of their entries.

"This year of course marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War and this competition has enabled our pupils to find out more about how these tragic events shaped the world we live in today."

The competition was run by North Lanarkshire Council with Bellshill Academy, Tannochside, Holy Family, Lawmuir, Noble and Mossend Primary Schools taking part, with support from Bellshill Community Forum, Morrisons, North Lanarkshire Leisure, NHS, Town Centre Activities, Police Scotland and Fire and Rescue Service.

Meanwhile, in Cumbernauld, phase one work on Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden, in Greenfaulds is nearly complete; with the Garden starting to go from drawing to reality, after the pavement around the Garden was installed and tarmacked. 

A steering group sub-committee of Cumbernauld Environmental Society has been working tirelessly over the past year to create an ever-lasting legacy of local remembrance to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the First World War, and ever conflict since. 

For the past two weeks the project has been gathering more support from interested local residents, who have paid a visit to the Peace Garden exhibition in Cumbernauld Town Centre.

Cumbernauld Town Centre management kindly made the unit at 3 Forth Walk available for the project to be promoted, but the newly decked out shop also included old pictures of Cumbernauld and informative readings all about World War One.

“Our new Cumbernauld town centre unit will promote the marvellous work being done behind the scenes to mark those who lost their lives fighting in the First World War,” explained Scott Campbell, secretary of the Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden steering group.

“The new garden will not be there to celebrate or glorify war, but to mark the ultimate sacrifice that so many men and women made in the course of the war; and, so far, most people we talk to support the project, particularly as this year marks the centenary of the First World War starting.”

The unit for the project’s exhibition is across from the now closed First Stop Shop, at number 3 Forth Walk, with the shop set to be opened various days of the week, whenever volunteers are available.

“Anybody who is interested in learning a bit more about what we are trying to do or even just people who want to see some old pictures of Cumbernauld can come in and have a browse – we will even have literature about the First World War and various materials to promote the Peace Garden and other community groups’ projects,” Scott explained.

The Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden town centre exhibition unit will be open until Friday 2nd August, one day before the Peace Garden will be officially opened by Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, Michael Gregory OBE.

Bobby Johnstone, Chair of Cumbernauld Environmental Society added: “Our new shop will serve as a fantastic ‘information hub’ about our project, as we get closer to the official opening, on August 3. 

“We don’t want to glorify war in any way, but rather pay our respects to those who were killed in the conflict; and, overall, most people I speak to are supportive of the project – not least the various people in the project’s steering group who have worked tirelessly over the past year or so to pull every little detail of the project together.

“We’ve also had a lot of support from various businesses and business people, who have helped us by donating in kind or giving us a donation. The generosity of the management of Cumbernauld Town Centre, and that of the Antonine Shopping Centre, is just testament to the amazing spirit that is bringing us all together to respectfully mark 100 years since the start of the war, and the loss of life that followed.”

Accompanying the project exhibition will be special donation collection day, and information bulletin in the Antonine Shopping Centre, where management have given Cumbernauld Environmental Society the store front of the former Henderson’s Jewellers shop.

The former jeweller’s store front will be decked out between July 21st and July 26th, to promote the project further, ahead of a donation collection event at the Antonine Centre on July 26th.

“We owe a thanks to the Antonine Shopping Centre management who – like the management in the Town Centre – have given us the ability to promote our efforts and ultimately raise funds for a very important project in Cumbernauld, which will last for years to come, and stand as a testament of Cumbernauld’s respect for all the men and women who lost their lives in the First World War,” Scott added.

Details of the Garden’s official opening have also been announced, with the project steering group confirming that the Garden will be officially opened on August 3 –one day before the centenary of the start of the Great War.

As part of the arrangements, a parade from Cumbernauld New Town Hall to the Garden will leave at 10:30am, with the Air Cadets, Army Cadet Force, Cumbernauld Environmental Society, Rotary International, Royal British Legion, and the Scouts set to be marching, alongside any interested member(s) of the public, before the Salvation Army leads a prayer, at the Garden; where after, Rear Admiral Michael Gregory OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, will officially open the Garden; and, Miss Teen North Lanarkshire and Miss European, release pigeons to symbolise the doves of peace and commemorate the number of pigeons which served in the War.
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