Remembrance Sunday, which falls on 11 November 2018 this year, is a day for everyone to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. Here at Coleman’s Garden Centre in association with local Amateur Historian Allan McClintock from Templepatrick we want to help raise funds for this year’s appeal and give you the chance to own a piece of history.

Allan’s career on many occasions took him to Belgium where he visited Sanctuary Wood, one of the few places on the Ypres Salient battlefields where an original trench layout can be seen in some semblance of what it might have looked like. After the First World War a farmer returned to reclaim his land in and around what was left of the wood he had left in 1914. A section of the original wood and the trenches in it were cleared of debris and casualties but generally the farmer left a section of a British trench system as he found it.

Today the Sanctuary Wood Museum is considered by many to offer the finest preserved trenches on the Western Front. Aside from battlefield artefacts the interior of the museum offers 3D stereoscopic photographs of highly graphic scenes taken during the war.

The wood was given its name because early in the War, some soldiers sheltered here, in effect were offered sanctuary, from a battle as they tried to return to their units. The remains of an original shell-blasted tree stand in Sanctuary Wood, and this is a popular place for visitors to leave poppies. The area around the trenches is still pocked with shellholes, and the area remains one of the few sites where you can get something of an impression of the actual terrain and landscape during the Great War.

Pictured left to right: Paul Michael , Antrim Royal British Legion, Allan McClintock and Richard Fry

When visiting Sanctuary Wood in 2006, Allan collected some acorns from which he grew an oak tree and over the past few years has gathered acorns from his own tree and grows saplings that Coleman’s have planted on and now have a limited number for sale in aid of this year’s Poppy Appeal on behalf of the British Legion.

Richard Fry, Managing Director, Coleman’s Garden Centre commented: “We are delighted to support this year’s Poppy Appeal on behalf of the British Legion and in particular in such an innovative way. Allan is to be commended for his efforts and hopefully we can raise some funds for what is an exceptionally worthy cause and honour those who gave their lives to protect our freedom.”

For more information on Sanctuary Wood and its role in World War 1 visit the link below :