Village footballers to wear names of First World War fallen

Long Stratton FC players will be wearing the names of Firdst World War soldiers. From left Wayne Bem

Long Stratton FC players will be wearing the names of Firdst World War soldiers. From left Wayne Bemrose (reserve team) Adam Race (first team) James Bemrose (first team). Picture: Georgina Race - Credit: Georgina Race

Players with a Norfolk village football club will be marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War by taking to the pitch wearing the names of soldiers who gave their lives.

Every player in the Long Stratton FC sides playing this weekend will wear a badge bearing the name of someone who fought in the Great War.

All 25 names of men remembered on Long Stratton war memorial will be worn together with others suggested by the players themselves or by villagers.

Long Stratton FC was founded in 1911 just before the start of the war and the idea of marking the centenary with name badges came before many teammates joined up to fight together.

Former club chairman Georgina Race, who it behind the idea, said: 'In the First World War people were encouraged to join up with their mates. So you had school friends, work colleagues or team mates who would join up, and quite often it was men who were all in the same sports club together.

'I just thought it would be nice for today's players to show that if they had been of that generation it could have been them that could have all been going up to the front.

'Especially in rural villages like Long Stratton a whole generation went off together to fight at places like Ypres, the Somme or Paschendale, and in a day you could lose the future heart of the community.'

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The club's first team will be wearing the special name badges when they take on Scole United in a home match on Saturday.

Ms Race said: 'We are hoping that not just the men's teams, but the youth teams on Sunday will all join in and we have an under-21s team that are playing on the Sunday and a Ladies team.'

As there are only a limited number of men from the village who fought, a social media appeal has encouraged people to suggest other names including relatives.

Ms Race added: 'In Long Stratton we have only got a limited amount of names and I thought there may be people whose relatives may not have lived in the village but they are part of the community now and it would make it more personalised and bring home that these aren't just names from 100 years ago these were young men who went off and didn't come back.'