SCHOOLchildren, community groups and businesses will sow thousands of poppy seeds to paint the town red for the First World War centenary.

Hundreds of people of all ages will come together over the next six weeks to plant the flowers in Whitworth.

However, the volunteers are calling for residents to join them in carrying out their commemorative project, so they can get 20kg of the seeds planted before Easter weekend.

Coun Alan Neal, who is involved with co-ordinating the project, said: “It would be great if people could donate money for us to buy more seeds with, but what we really need is people on the ground.

“I’ve been really pleased with the initial response, but we want to cover the road and moorsides throughout the town, before April 20, when the planting window will end.

“The project is to show our respects to the people who gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedoms.”

Students from St John with St Michael CE Primary School, in Shawforth, Our Lady and St Anselm's RC Primary School, St Bartholomew's CE Primary School, Tonacliffe Primary School and Whitworth High School will be taking part. The youngsters will be joined by motorcycle group the Whitworth Warriors, Whitworth Horticultural Society and Whitworth Photography Society.

The town council has awarded £100 to the project, for the purchase of seeds, and Anglo Recycling has donated £50.

Officers from Rossendale Council are helping with the organisation of the project, and Coun Neal has applied for a Neighbourhood Grant to ask the council to match any money they raise through donations.

To donate to the project, make a cheque payable to Whitworth Town Council. For more information, email Coun Neal on