ABERSYCHAN School pupils have unveiled a commemorative garden to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, as part of an emotional and moving ceremony with ex-servicemen.

Part of a project to deter anti-social behaviour in the area, the garden – at Union Street car park – is a collaboration between residents, the local authority, and the school. Support and funding was provided by Bron Afon and Keep Wales Tidy, with Cllr Gwyneira Clark behind the original idea. Abersychan year eight pupils came up with a range of designs but settled on one shaped as a poppy.

They planted the garden with the help of Cwrt Landscapes and held a special ceremony a day later.

Dr Susan Golding, from the school, said it was an event she would remember for a long time.

“Ex-service men from Blaenavon and Cwmbran joined us and the reading of the exhortation, along with a minutes silence, acted as a fitting tribute to those men and women who have and who continue to fight to protect our country.

“I hope this project will demonstrate the pride that so many young people have for the area they live in and act as a reminder of the importance of working together to raise a community’s aspiration. “

Cllr Clark added: “Today we saw how our future will be in safe hands if we give the young people the opportunity to feel wanted and respected. It was a very moving ceremony and the poem read by the pupils and the last post gave it that special moment for reflection”.

A spokesman for Torfaen council, whose environmental team helped the pupils develop ideas, seek funding, and co-ordinate planting, said the garden forms part of the council’s wider strategy to increase the number of pollinators throughout the borough.

“The proposals include plans to create a wild flower corridor from Cwmbran to Blaenavon, and to identify other areas suitable for wild flower seeding,” he added.