Welford Road remembers the fallen on Armistice weekend
Welford Road paid its respects to those who lost their lives in two World wars – including 46 Leicester Tigers players – during the club’s Premiership Rugby Cup fixture against Sale Sharks on Friday (November 9).
In a special ceremony ahead of kick-off, the teams were led on to the field by representatives of the Tigers Regiment Veterans Association, Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College and Royal British Legion.
The Tigers team wore a special shirt featuring the centenary ‘Thank You’ poppy logo which will be auctioned in aid of the Leicester Tigers Foundation’s memorial project.
As the stadium fell silent, both teams lined up on the pitch for the playing of The Last Post by bugler Matthew Rowland and trumpeter Jason Hobson.
Roy Anthony Birch, of the Western Front Association, recited the Exhortation, featuring the words of Robert Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For The Fallen’ which was first published in September 1914 – including the lines: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
These words signalled the start of two minutes’ silence and finally the Reveille before the game got under way.
Tigers also welcomed a group of supporters carrying memorial wreaths in the name of the 46 Fallen Tigers who lost their lives in the two world wars.
After the game, the club then held a special wreath laying ceremony under a commemorative plaque by the ‘Wall of Legends’ in the Robin Hood Stand at Welford Road to remember the 46 Tigers who died during both World Wars.
Fans braved the wind and rain to lay down each of the wreaths joined by British legion Standard bearers from Syston and Hinckley. Bugler Matthew Rowland closed the ceremony with the playing of ‘Sunset’.
Tigers recently shared news with fans updating of the club’s plans to build a Foundation Monument with a view to construction beginning in the New Year.
Thanks to donations from supporters, the club has managed to raise £70,000 for the project and is now aiming to build a newly-designed plinth outside the Holland & Barrett Stand.
The plinth will be etched with each of the names of the fallen, as well as the names of each of the contributors whose generous donations have helped make such a project possible.
Alec Brown, Leicester Tigers Foundation fundraiser said: “Whilst we would have loved to reach the initial £180,000 target, we are immensely proud of the generosity and donations from supporters who have made this project possible.
“We’re working closely with the key figureheads at the club, design team and the Tigers Foundation to ensure that the new-look monument reflects the heritage of the club and the sacrifice of the 146.
We’re hopeful that construction of the monument can begin in the New Year and supporters can still donate and get involved by obtaining our limited edition Foundation Crowns.”
Anyone interested in supporting the memorial can contact the club to find out more about making a donation to receive a Leicester Tigers Foundation Crown, a limited edition coin which commemorates the heritage project.