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Maritime Festival inspires pensioner to pen poetry

Pearl Allard, author of Pearl's Poem

A Great Yarmouth woman who supports the Maritime Festival, and the memory of soldiers who gave their lives in battle, has been moved to write a poem about the First World War.

Pearl Allard, aged 80, from Jema Close has praised organisers of the festival for commemorating the end of the First World War as one of the themes of this year’s event.

Mrs Allard, who won a festival poetry competition eight years ago, told event chairman Aileen Mobbs that seeing publicity about the festival’s war connection had “started my brain going".

She got out of bed to grab some paper to start writing, and hoped “someone other than my family” might be interested in seeing the verse she was inspired to write.

Mrs Mobbs said: “I have always enjoyed reading Pearl’s poetry and love the fact she felt inspired by our theme of the war, which her grandson is also studying at school.”

As featured earlier in the Great Yarmouth Mercury, Mrs Allard has also donated 49 poppies she has collected over the years to a Poppy of Honour campaign. It aims to fill an 8ft tall glass poppy sculpture in Wincanton with 1,115,471 handwritten poppies bearing the names of servicemen and women killed or declared missing in action during the Great War.

To know is to remember

A dark time in our history, now one hundred years old,
To our future generations, this story should be told.
When the world was at war, on the land, sea and sky,
No one chapter to choose from, so many reasons why.

Fighting for King and Country, joint forces risked their lives.
Brave young pilots in fragile planes, ruled and held the skies.
The Royal Navy protected the land, defending seas and ports,
While the Merchant Navy ferried supplies, giving support.

Troops returned from battle, what horrors they would tell.
Soldiers laid there injured, some dying where they fell.
Troops in rain-soaked trenches, soon fight side-by-side.
Many returned as heroes. Thousands of heroes died.

Future generations must be told, with any war…beware.
Some will return mentally scarred, in need of special care.
Charities like Help for Heroes, the success of Invictus Games,
Have inspired new military centres. Rehabilitation is their aim.

So read about Flanders fields, poppies and World War One.
Know why there’s a Remembrance Day, your duty will be done.
Two minutes of your silence, a poppy worn with pride,
Will show you know and remember, how many millions died.

By Pearl Allard
Jema Close
Great Yarmouth