Aberdeen schoolboy Finlay lands top prize with touching letter from World War 1 soldier

Finlay with his certificate for his winning entry.
Finlay with his certificate for his winning entry.

A schoolboy’s “letter home” from a World War 1 soldier has delivered him a top prize in a national contest.

Finlay Waddell, a third year pupil at Aberdeen Grammar School, has won the secondary category of the competition run by Poppyscotland.

Schoolchildren were encouraged to write a letter home from the perspective of a WW1 soldier describing life in the trenches and their thoughts on war.

The exercise gave youngsters the chance to reflect on what life must have been like 100 years ago at the Somme.

Finlay’s submission was crowned the winner in the secondary category from 1,048 entries from 46 schools across Scotland.

A triumphant Finlay received a tablet computer, a Poppyscotland certificate and his letter will be printed on a Poppyscotland learning poster that will be sent to more than 2,000 schools in the country.

Finlay said: “While I can’t say I expected to win the Letters Home competition, I do think it is great that competitions like this take place and increase awareness in schools of the Poppyscotland cause. I think it is very important to honour those that have fought for our freedom and to support those who still do.”

Alison Murison, Aberdeen Grammar School head teacher, said: “I am delighted Finlay has written such a well thought out and high-quality submission, and has won the prestigious Poppyscotland in the secondary category.”

Finlay’s history teacher Jean Irvine added: “Finlay and all the other S3 history pupils were very engaged.

“Finlay’s letter showed a particular empathy with how a soldier might have felt writing a letter home to his loved ones.”

Poppyscotland provides schools with many resourcesto support learning around Remembrance and the vital work of the charity today.

Poppyscotland CEO Mark Bibbey, who led the judges, said: “The standard of entries across the board was exceptionally high and we were able to choose some very impressive young writers to award for their stand-out efforts.”