Launched in late 2022, the competition asked learners to write a diary entry depicting how the outbreak of war would impact their lives. More than 140 entries were sent in, and a judging panel formed of staff from Poppyscotland, Legion Scotland and the Officers’ Association Scotland created a shortlist for the public to vote on.

 A phenomenal 1,400 votes cast across 10 days saw Liam McNamee from Edinburgh’s Castleview Primary School and Maya Al-Najim from The High School of Glasgow named as winners. 

Gordon Michie, Head of Fundraising and Learning at Poppyscotland and a judging panel member, visited Castleview Primary to present Liam with his prize in front of his P7 peers. Gordon says, “Liam’s diary entry stood out and painted a picture through his words of what was happening in those early days of the Second World War.” 

Liam adds, “I didn’t expect to be a finalist. I was extremely surprised when I won, and I’m delighted that I did. I think learning and writing about wars is important so people don’t forget what happened.” 

Maya’s detailed and descriptive diary entry also wowed the judges. Kerry Crichton, Poppyscotland’s Deputy Head of Learning and another panel judge, visited second year pupil Maya at The High School of Glasgow to congratulate her on her win and deliver her prize. Kerry says, “[Maya’s] language was emotive and descriptive, engaging the reader in her story.” 

Maya says she felt that writing about past conflicts was valuable. “It’s important as it helps us to understand the views or experiences of the people involved – not just the soldiers, but the families as well. My own family’s experiences have helped me understand that it can be a difficult topic.” 

Both winners received £500 in vouchers for their school and will be invited for a class visit to Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory. Their school will also receive a visit from Bud, Poppyscotland’s travelling micro-museum. 

The judges also selected two Judges’ Choices recipients – Thomas Connor and Eva-Grace Young – who will receive vouchers and a tour of the factory for their schools. 

More information about the competition is available on the learning section of the Poppyscotland website, or by following @poppy_learning on X.

Liam McNamee Entry

Maya Al-Najim Entry