The ACT Initiative – Greater Shankill

Three years ago the Springmartin community in West Belfast decided to build a small garden of reflection to remember the sacrifice of those who fought at the Battle of the Somme. The stunning 3 column monument was the work of local artist Ross Wilson, the columns remembered the men of the 10th and 16th Irish Division, the West Belfast Volunteers and the 36th Ulster Division.

Although some local school children were involved in designing the memorial it was decided by local ACT volunteers that young people in the area should be reminded what the garden represents and why they should respect it.

An event was arranged recently were kids from the area gathered in the garden to listen to a presentation. WW1 battle honours were placed at the memorial and it was flanked by three men dressed in period uniform as a member of the Harbour Somme Association gave a talk on the Somme and the sacrifice of Ulstermen at war. Then a member of Greengairs Thistle Flute Band from Scotland gave a presentation on his band, the kids listened as he told them why the band has dedicated so much in remembering the men who fell on the battlefields of France and Belgium. They also learned of the bands strong links with the Springmartin area that have developed over the years. The band kindly gave each child a gift bag including many items like DVDs, mugs, key rings, hats and info on Ulster Scots heritage. At the end of the night each child placed a poppy cross at the memorial.

ACT would like to thank both speakers for teaching the group more about the sacrifice of the men who fell all those years ago and hopefully helping them to show the garden the respect it deserves.



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