From Ombersley to Iraq!

Published Tuesday, 1st December 2015

Children from Ombersley First School have handed over Christmas boxes destined for serving soldiers in Iraq. It’s part of their WW1 project, the Great Blackberry Pick run by Droitwich Library.

This term the pupils have been recreating some of the activities that children did 100 years ago. In 1914 Princess Mary was responsible for the production of a tin which was sent to all serving troops. It contained things like tobacco, cigarettes, pencils and Christmas cards from the Royal Family.  Years 3 and 4 at Ombersley decided to keep up this tradition by filling their own shoe boxes with carefully chosen items for today’s soldiers. These will be sent to Iraq by the charity ‘Support Our Soldiers’.

The charity’s local representative Nicki Philipson-Stowe said: “We are delighted that the Ombersley children have been so generous. In 1914 over 2 and a half million people were eligible to receive the Princess Mary tin - every serving soldier, sailor and airmen, as well as prisoners of war and next of kin of those killed in battle. Luckily we don’t have to provide nearly that many boxes these days! The Ombersley boxes will be heading for British soldiers currently serving in Iraq.” 

Ombersley Year 4 teacher Ruth Osborne said: “The children have loved our WW1 Blackberry Project. They have learnt so much about World War One and what it was like to be a child 100 years ago. Filling our shoeboxes has been the icing on the cake, as it brings us right up to date. It’s a lovely thing to receive a box at Christmas, just as it was in 1914.”

Cllr Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities said: "Droitwich Library has created such an interesting community project and the children who have taken part so far are clearly really enjoying themselves and learning a lot about this period of our history".

The Great Blackberry Pick Project is run by Droitwich Library and involves 4 local schools. An exhibition of their work is currently on display in the library and you can also catch up with the children’s activities on line at The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery’s ‘WW1; Then and Now’ Fund.

‘Support Our Soldiers’ was formed in March 2003 to encourage and provide support for members of the British Armed Forces serving overseas and their families at home.  Since that time, thanks to the overwhelming kindness and generosity of the British public, over 130,000 morale-boosting boxes have been sent out to those on the frontline, and countless families helped through the very difficult time with their loved ones away on tour.

Support Our Soldiers Registered Charity No 1120684