For Club and Country - The Woodland Trust and 'Football Remembers' join forces to commemorate footballers involved in the First World War.
Carlisle United have come together with over 60 clubs from across the professional game to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War.
In partnership with the Woodland Trust and National Football Museum’s ‘For Club and Country project’ The Premier League, English Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Association are planting trees to create a living legacy to the footballers who served and died 100 years ago in the First World War as part of the national, Football Remembers campaign.
Players became so much more than just heroes on the football pitch. Some of the more unlikely heroes of the First World War were the footballers of the time, who bravely joined up and went off to war. As they left the hallowed turf of professional football pitches for the trenches of the front line football and families were changed forever.
Almost every team in the league today sent players to the front between 1914 and 1918 and many never returned. Those that did were never the same again. The Woodland Trust project For Club and Country also remembers the women, who single-handedly kept the national game alive during the conflict, playing in front of hundreds of thousands of supporters.
England and West Ham legend, Sir Trevor Brooking, CBE said: “The Woodland Trust’s For Club and Country project is the perfect way to commemorate football’s important role in the First World War. By planting trees for players who bravely fought for their country we are creating something beautiful and long lasting for future generations.”
Tree of Remembrance planted at Brunton Park
Here at Brunton Park, our Tree of Remembrance was planted ahead of the Yeovil Town home game by veterans of the King's Own Royal Border Regiment.
The soldiers of the local regiment had seen service in Norther Ireland, the Balkans and Iraq, to name but a few places, and brought their Battalion wreath to mark the occasion.
Club staff were then joined by first team players Mike Jones and Tom Parkes, CUSG chairman Simon Clarkson, CST manager John Halpin and children from Inglewood School this afternoon as part of an official remembrance ceremony, with members of the local press also in attendance.
The children planted winter Violas, adding colour to an already poignant setting, with the commemorative plaque offset from the tree.
Media officer Andy Hall said: "This is something the club is really proud of and we thank the Woodland Trust and the EFL for helping us to pull it all together.
"It gives the fans and the people of Carlisle another area where they can come along and remember those who gave everything, or even to think about their own loved ones, in what is a very accessible area.
"Thank you to the King's Own Royal Border Regiment veterans for their help in planting the tree and positioning the plaque, and thank you to the children from Ingelwood who finished off everything beautifully with the flowers this afternoon.
"You could tell that they particularly enjoyed putting the flowers in the mud and getting help from the players to dig the holes."
Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: "This is something everyone can feel proud of. It's a fantastic initiative from the Woodland Trust and the EFL, and their support in making it happen here in Carlisle has been smooth and effective.
"We spoke together before the children planted the flowers about the meaning of Remembrance, and how important it is to think about those who gave their lives so that we can live ours in freedom and comfort.
"Things like this really do help to get that message across and I would like to thank everybody who has helped us bring our 'Tree of Remembrance' project to where it is today."
CUSG chairman Simon Clarkson said: "I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I thank the EFL, Woodland Trust and the club for making the 'For Club and Country' project come to fruition at Brunton Park.
"It's a great way for the fans to be able to show their respects to the fallen all year round, and I think it will become as recognisable and as talked about as the Hugh McIlmoyle statue in years to come, particularly as the oak tree grows and becomes even more visible.
"It was fantastic to watch the children from Inglewood as they planted the flowers, because you could see they had respect and understanding for the overall meaning of what it was they were part of.
"The tree and plaque are located just beside the entrance to the supporters' car park and the hope is that as many people as possible will get to see it at this very special time of year, and every time they come down to the club going forward."
Supporters are welcome to place messages, flowers or wreaths at the tree at any time.
Watch the official 'For Club and Country' video here ...
For Club and Country aims to plant 100 additional trees for each of the clubs that were professional when war broke out in 1914, at a newly created national woodland memorial at the Woodland Trust’s flagship Centenary Wood at Langley Vale in Epsom.
Supporters of clubs across the Premier League and English Football League are being encouraged to join their club heroes by planting trees to create a lasting living legacy across football. Supporters can find out more about their club’s history and football’s involvement in the war by visiting www.forclubandcountry.org.uk/england
All clubs down to grass roots and community groups can be part of our First World War Centenary Woods project and plant trees to remember their members, players, friends and family involved in the conflict. Find out more about our Free Tree Pack offer on the ‘About Us’ page or at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees
The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading charity championing native woods and trees. It has over 500,000 supporters.
The Trust has three key aims: i) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife ii) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable iii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life.
Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its woods is free.
The Woodland Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods project has planted millions of trees across the UK and four flagship woods created – in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War.
For Club and Country is part of Centenary Woods and is commemorating footballs and footballers involvement in the First World War.
Sainsbury's has supported the Woodland Trust since 2004 with the launch of free range Woodland eggs. Since then donations through product sales have expanded to chicken, turkey, apples and honey. The partnership has helped the Woodland Trust to plant two million trees, including establishing a special Sainsbury’s Wood at The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood in Leicestershire.
The partnership has also enabled the Woodland Trust to provide support and advice to Sainsbury’s on tree planting and maintenance to deliver to their farmers across the UK. Most recently, Sainsbury’s is supporting Woodland Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods project, where four new woods and millions of trees will be planted to commemorate the First World War.