10th October 2018 Laura Hayward

Friends from a living history group spent a weekend in a recreated World War One trench to help raise hundreds of pounds for Poppyscotland. The ‘Glasgow at War’ group lived, ate, worked, slept and patrolled in the trench like typical soldiers of the era – and raised £300 for the leading Armed Forces charity in the process.

Group member Stewart Crichton, from Baillieston, who was joined by his father Drew, Greg Woods, from Coatbridge, and Joe McMahon, from Partick, said: “Our group has portrayed the Great War in various guises for many years and done several different things to raise money over that time. This year we decided to spend a weekend in the trenches, at Digging In, in Glasgow’s Pollok Park.

“We began on the Saturday morning and stayed in the trench throughout the day and into the evening. We undertook routine tasks the soldiers would have done, including shaving, making food and tea, and repairing damaged uniforms. We also carried out the very realistic practise of getting some sleep during the daylight hours.

“The trench area was set up to be as lived in as possible, placing weapons, ammo boxes, supply crates and the like along the fire step. Our medic set up his aid post in the trench system’s dugout. At least one man kept watch at any given time, and we even simulated a patrol creeping through no-man’s land.”

Stewart, whose team were given extra fundraising help from Ian Shields, Jude Coles, Ciaran Mcelhinney and David Willey, added: “While we cannot replicate the danger and risk these brave men and women faced during the War, we can at least simulate some of the day-to-day hardships they went through in similar conditions, to try and better understand the sacrifices they made, and if we can make some money for a good charity in the process, all the better!

“On the Sunday, there was a Digging In open day for the public, so we spent the rest of the day answering questions and explaining the War as best we can to the people visiting. Poppyscotland is a charity we always try to help out. We’ve worked alongside Poppyscotland for several years now at events and shows as well as doing our own fundraising for them.”

Gordon Michie, Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: “During my time at Poppyscotland, I have seen many different fundraising events, but this is one of the most unique. The idea of raising money by doing a sponsored sleep-out in a World War One trench is a great idea as well as being a reminder of what the people on the front line went through. The money raised by this group will help to provide life-changing help to our Armed Forces community living in Scotland today. Well done and thank you to everyone in involved.”

Digging In is an education and outreach project delivered by Northlight Heritage in partnership with Glasgow University and Glasgow City Council. The project is reconstructing First World War trenches to explore through active learning and research, the human experiences of the conflict and its impact on society.

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