SCHOOL pupils gathered at a moving poppy planting ceremony in a village graveyard to remember fallen soldiers of The First World War.

Children from Eaves Lane and Sherdley primary schools placed seeds in the grounds at St Nicholas Church, Sutton, where 12 soldiers lie buried.

They were invited to the planting by ex-King’s Regiment serviceman Butch Gilbart of the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund.

Mr Gilbart explained the tragic tale of Private Tom Griffiths, from Sutton, who is buried there.

“He served with the 4th Battalion King’s Liverpool Regiment,” he said.

“He was wounded on April 27, 1915, and returned to England where he was taken to Leeds Hospital and underwent an operation but he failed to recover.”

Private Griffiths told relatives who visited him in hospital that his officer was wounded and as he stooped down to help he was shot.

The soldier then suffered the agony of lying on the battlefield for more than 12 hours before he was removed.

Before he died he gave his mother a map on which he had marked the battles he had fought in including La Bassee, Neuve Chapelle and Ypres.

Servicemen past and present wore military uniform, Mayor of St Helens Cllr Andy Bowden, Vicar of St Nicholas the Rev Mark Taylor led a short service and Rev Mark Taylor, Vicar of St Nicholas, Sutton, led a short graveyard service.

The vicar told the children about The First World War battlefield scenes, explaining how the fields were a mess, mud was everywhere and there was a great deal of suffering.

He added that out of the darkness, “something marvellous happened as the poppies started growing, which shows out of suffering comes new life.”