A four-year programme has been launched by Elmbridge Council to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

As part of the commemorations, the council will host events and project under the programme titled Elmbridge Remembers.

The first project to mark the commemorations is a community poppy campaign, with community groups, schools, associations and charities invited to claim a free packet of poppy seeds which will be planned in flowerbeds, borders, planters and community gardens.

As part of an opening ceremony of the programme, the mayor of Elmbridge, Councillor Mike Bennison, handed over poppy seeds to Claygate Village Women’s Institute, Claygate Parish Council, Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, Cobham and Downside Residents’ Association, Claygate Memorial Restoration Project, Claygate in Bloom, Hersham in Bloom and the Royal British Legion.

The councils green spaces team will also sow poppy seeds at 13 different sites across the borough in the coming months to mark the commemoration programme.

Coun Bennison, said: “The poppy displays across the borough will be a beautiful tribute to our local fallen heroes and a source of quiet reflection when they bloom in the summer.

“We encourage as many community groups as possible to be part of this campaign so that Elmbridge soldiers are never forgotten.”

Councillor Jan Fuller, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said the council enjoyed working with the community and the programme will help to continue the tradition.

She said: “This year, we are hoping that even more groups will get involved in this project to commemorate the bravery of local soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.”

Community groups, schools, associations and charities can request a free packet of poppy seeds, which are allocated on a first come first served basis, by emailing leisure@elmbridge.gov.uk or call 01372 474568.

For more information on the Elmbridge Remembers campaign, visit elmbridge.gov.uk/WW1.