CHILDREN have planted crosses in a new Garden of Remembrance at a school near York after ‘adopting’ a Normandy veteran.

Warthill CE Primary School staged a moving Act of Remembrance ceremony yesterday at the garden, which has been created in a corner of the school playing field.

Among those attending were two of York’s few surviving Normandy veterans, Ken Smith and Ken Cooke, and a standard bearer from the Royal British Legion’s Stamford Bridge branch, Joe Lancaster.

Mr Smith said he had built up close links with the school over the past year since talking to pupils about his experiences at a wartime weekend event in Pickering last year and then being invited by the children to visit their school.

“They’ve adopted me,” he said.

Teacher Andy Mills said Homebase had provided miniature picket fencing for the garden free of charge.

During yesterday’s ceremony, pupils sang hymns and read out poems and prayers they had written, including one dedicated to the veterans, that began: “Dear veterans. Those of us who have not served will never fully understand the sacrifices you’ve made both in times of peace and of war.

“We will never fully understand what you were required to do or how you were able to do it. We will never fully understand the depth of your scars.”

The reading finished: “We send you love that is gentle, patient and healing. With blessings and gratitude, we ask that you remember you are loved. Thank you.”

Head teacher Beverley Pawson said the ceremony had been very moving, while Mr Smith, 92, of Wheldrake, said: “It brought a tear to my eyes.”