As part of the club’s education provision for Academy players, Palace’s young players have undertaken a number of initiatives and attended events linked to the Remembrance weekend.
Passchendaele at Home is a Premier League project encouraging Academy players to learn about and remember those wounded in the Battle of Passchendaele who subsequently returned home but lost their lives due to injuries sustained.
Palace’s youngsters have specifically learned about and celebrated the achievements of those who now lay to rest at Croydon and West Norwood Crematorium.
During the process, the players were tasked with producing posters and poems to honour the fallen. Messages were then submitted in remembrance of Sidney Fordham on a Royal British Legion website which allows members of the public to share their memories and thoughts.
During last weekend’s round of fixtures the young men presented the poems and posters to parents and spectators of the games - and a minute’s silence was held prior to kick off, and a wreath was laid by the Under 11, 13 and 14 teams.
On Monday morning, the Under 18s began their day at their Beckenham base with a classroom session where they researched the Battle of Passchendaele, before an excerpt from a soldier’s diary was read out by the club’s Education & Welfare Officer, Mick Shea. The players then visited Croydon Cemetery and at the nearby War Memorial, the players listened to readings and poems from Jemma Cottam-Verbruggen, Community Fundraiser in South East London for the Royal British Legion.
Private Karl Jackson from the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment also revealed to the young players how the Services remember those that have lost their lives as they visited the grave of Sidney Fordham, as the players laid a wreath and observed a minute’s silence.
The U12s attended the Premier League Christmas Truce Tournament held at the Royal Navy Sports Ground, HMS Temeraire – Portsmouth. The boys joined other clubs from the region to participate in the tournament. Prior to the tournament commencing the boys took part in a Remembrance Ceremony.
During the ceremony the boys read aloud the names of fallen soldiers that were players at the Club. A poem, that the boys had collectively written during the education programme experienced in lead up to the event, was also read aloud by one of the boys.
The day was a truly memorable occasion for both the boys and staff involved.