Polmont YOI unveils new poppy garden

Guests gather at the memorial ceremony in Polmont YOI
Guests gather at the memorial ceremony in Polmont YOI

Staff and inmates at Polmont Young Offenders Institution have displayed real commitment to remembering fallen servicemen of the First World War.

The YOI now has a brand new memorial and a poppy garden in its grounds thanks to the hard work of staff.

In the same spirit the institution will also be raising cash for Poppy Scotland, a charity which raises £2 million each year to support ex-service personnel and their families, through inmates undertaking a special physical challenge.

Sharon Guest, Polmont offender outcome first line manager, said: “Our bricklaying and gardens officers came up with an initial design for a poppy garden. Through the enthusiasm of staff the memorial and garden grew from a small project to a much larger undertaking lasting eight weeks.

“Some way along the line we realised we would have to have some kind of service to mark the project and that too got bigger and bigger.”

Guests at the memorial ceremony, which took place on August 4, the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, included East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty and Falkirk Alcohol and Drug Partnership policy officer Caird Forsyth.

Sharon said: “The ceremony was carried out with the full support of the Scottish Prison Service. We have this memorial site now as a focal point and it will be a place we can hold all our future services.”

The special day also included an exhibition on the First World War and the Scottish Prison Service aimed at educating the young inmates on one of the most significant eras in British history.

The youngsters are also taking to the gym to raise funds for charity Poppy Scotland using the exercise equipment in the gym the youngsters will be covering vast distances, running and walking, for their “1914 Challenge”

As well as the fitness challenge and the historical education of young inmates, the YOI also hopes to draft in members of the armed forces to allow the youngsters to experience an assault course designed to the specifications of a typical fitness and agility challenge recruits would go through to prepare for the First World War.