There's all sorts of events happening up and down the country this year to commemorate the start of the First World War. And one of the nicest events, in my humble opinion, is happening right here in my very own town!
The name is in honour of the 1,245 war dead who came from Stockton on Tees, my hometown. From now, available across the town, are envelopes containing sunflower seeds and one name that your sunflower will honour. I picked mine up today and my sunflower is to remember Patrick Hearty. When all the flowers are tall and proud (hopefully!), on the weekend of 2nd-3rd August, people are invited to bring their sunflowers to the pretty Parish Gardens. Then, on 4th August which marks 100 years since Britain joined the war, there will be a tribute that will last for 1245 minutes, culminating in a community-led finale. I don't know any more detail than that as the website will update nearer to the time.
I freely admit to being a bit of a wuss, but when I first read about this it really touched me. (Some) people in this town are fighting so hard to rebuild our reputation, despite media challenges like being named the worst town to live in England and the awful Benefits Street programme possibly being filmed here, and ideas like this that seem so simple fill me with joy.
And I really love sunflowers, they're my most favourite flower. So I will grow my sunflowers with love and remembrance for people who seem so much braver than I think I could ever be.
If anyone local wants to join in the seeds are available at these locations.