Local school win Fair Play Award in tournament marking the centenary of the end of the First World War

This month seven pupils from Longdean School had the amazing opportunity of travelling to Ypres, Belgium and representing Watford FC at The Football Remembers U18 Girls Tournament. It was an opportunity the team certainly didn’t pass up, winning the tournament’s Fair Play Award.

The tournament itself was organised by the Premier League to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and was participated by seven other Premier League clubs including Brighton and Hove Albion, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City, Fulham, Manchester City and Manchester United.

As well as the football, players and staff also took part in educational visits to trench sites, cemeteries and museums. This included learning about the Christmas Truce, which occurred in 1914, when troops from England, France, Belgium and Germany who were in the trenches during World War One, stopped fighting and exchanged gifts, sang carols and played impromptu games of football.  It was in the spirit of the Christmas Truce that players then got the chance to exchange gifts with the other Premier League clubs taking part in the tournament.

A particularly poignant moment from the visit was when Laura Dyer of Watford FC’s Community Sports and Education Trust was joined by Longdean’s team captain Charmain to lay a wreath during a local ceremony that commemorated those lost to the First World War.

Accompanying Longdeans School staff member, Ms Wyatt, spoke of the visit to Belgium;

“The trip was fantastic and a truly memorable experience for everyone involved. The girls loved the remembrance events and the chance to visit historic places. As for the actual tournament, they thoroughly enjoyed meeting girls from all over the country who represented their own Premier League teams. The camaraderie shown was excellent and a great inspiration for female footballers. Thank you so much to Watford FC’s CSE Trust for allowing Longdean to represent them on this amazing trip.”

Laura Dyer, Girls and Womens Football Development Officer at Watford FC’s CSE Trust praised the efforts of the girls representing Watford FC;

“Most of the Longdeans players had not played a football match before so for them it was a completely new experience and challenge for them. The girls gave it their all, always had a smile on their face and did Watford proud. But there was no doubting the moment none of us will ever forget - the local ceremony commemorating those lost to the war, it was a very moving ceremony and really hit home the sacrifices made.”