A grassroots football team has won praise after making a ‘huge effort’ for the Poppy Appeal at a recent match.
Sunderland Hall Farm’s players all wore a poppy on their shirt as they took on Bishop Auckland Reserves in the Durham Alliance Combination League at Leyburn Grove, in Houghton-le-Spring.
The club went a step further by arranging for bugler Ian Alderson to play the Last Post ahead of the match – which ended 0-0 – while Paul Hope, who serves in the RAF, and ex-serviceman Steve Hope were both invited along.
There was a minute’s silence before kick-off, and collection tins around the ground kept fundraising efforts going during the game.
Hall Farm regularly make an effort for the Poppy Appeal ahead of Remembrance Sunday, but this was their biggest yet.
Lee Bogan, who manages the team, said: “It’s something we’ve done for the last five seasons, but we decided to make it a little bit bigger this year. It was brilliant, and everything went well.
It doesn’t cost anything to pay your respects, and it’s important to show respect to the war heroesLee Bogan
“It doesn’t cost anything to pay your respects, and it’s important to show respect to the war heroes.
“It is something which has always gone down well with the squad, but this year we decided to take it a step further by having the Last Post played, and having collections around the ground.
“Next year we might make it a little bit bigger again.
“At this level of football, the attendances aren’t very high, but when I spoke to the representative of the charity, they said that any money would help.”
The match between the teams, who are fourth and fifth respectively in the table, finished goalless in front of a crowd of about 60.
Kieran Downey, who refereed the game, said: “The club made a huge effort.
“It’s almost unheard of in grassroots football for such an effort to be made for charity, so the club should be proud of themselves.
“It was a brilliant occasion.”