The Duke of Cambridge and Theo Walcott have come together to help kick off Football Remembers - and mark the centenary of the First World War Christmas Truce.
A joint project between The FA, Premier League, Football League and the British Council – Football Remembers marks the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce, when soldiers from both sides of the trenches laid down their weapons to play a game of football, share drinks and exchange gifts on No Man’s Land across the battlefields of the Western Front.
The heart-warming tales of how football can break down the bleakest of barriers have been passed down through generations and illustrations of the events have become some of the most iconic of the First World War.
And Prince William, President of The FA, said: “The British Council, together with The FA, Premier League and Football League, have put together a tremendous resource for use in the classroom and at home.
HRH The Duke of Cambridge has expressed his pride in being involved with the Football Remembers initiative
“It promises to be a powerful way to engage and educate young people about such an important moment in our history.
“We all grew up with the story of soldiers from both sides putting down their arms on Christmas Day, and it remains wholly relevant today as a message of hope over adversity, even in the bleakest of times.”
As well as lending his support to the initiatives throughout the year The Duke is also backing a unique Football Remembers project in which schools and football academies are being asked to design a memorial to the football played during the truce.
The permanent memorial will be built at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The winning design will be chosen by The Duke and Arsenal and England forward Walcott and will be formally unveiled in December.
The four partners have also launched a Football Remembers education pack that will be sent to more than 30,000 schools across the UK through the British Council.
- Joint initiative between The FA, Premier League, Football League and The British Council
- Launched to recognise and inform about the centenary of the Christmas Truce
- All primary and secondary schools in the UK to receive an education pack about the moment in history when football brought war to a halt
- Duke asks schoolchildren to design a new permanent national memorial for the Christmas Truce
The pack includes resources to help children learn about the event – including eyewitness accounts, photos, drawings and letters from soldiers, some of which have never been published before.
The year culminates in a week-long remembrance period in December, during which every team in the Premier League and Football League - right through to the grassroots – and every FA-registered club, County FA and UK primary and secondary school are all being asked to take part in a combined photo before the game, as happened on the battlefields on the Western Front.
FA Chairman Greg Dyke added his own words of support to the year’s events.
“Having just been to visit the battlefields and memorial sites in northern France, I saw at first hand just how much a part football played in the First World War,” he said.
“The scale of the loss is unthinkable and it is only right and fitting the game comes together to pay tribute to those that made the ultimate sacrifice.
“By bringing the story of the Christmas Truce to life for a new generation, we can also remind how football can be a positive force in bringing people together - even at the worst of times.”