Sunderland AFC supporters will remember the fallen this weekend
Sunderland AFC will be honouring veterans and those who serve at the match this weekend.
The club will continue its long-standing support for armed forces charities at the Stadium of Light when serving military personnel, veterans' groups and families of those who have lost their lives in the service of their country, attend the Black Cats game against Southend United.
In the final game at the Stadium of Light before Remembrance Sunday, this will be the fourteenth consecutive year for the Remembrance Commemorations.
Soldiers from the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery will undertake a parade around the pitch before the game and form a guard of honour as both teams take to the field.
A traditional period of silence will be observed prior to kick off and the players will wear special one-off match shirts bearing the traditional poppy emblem. Following the game, the shirts will be donated to armed forces charities.
Staff Sergeant Chris Gee from 5th Royal Artillery is leading the tribute on Saturday afternoon and, alongside club staff, will lay a poppy wreath at the club war memorial ahead of the game, before leading the pre-match commemorations by laying a wreath in the centre-circle as the teams and fans gather to observe the silence.
The Black Cats will also show their support for Veterans in Crisis – Sunderland (VICS), a city charity dedicated to supporting veterans who are facing difficult times, to get back on their feet.
Twenty veterans will receive a pitchside welcome, including SAFC’s oldest fan 102-year-old Ernie Jones from Grindon, who served in the Welsh Fusiliers, and former reservist Sean Lister, another lifelong Sunderland fan who recently got married following a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Staff Sergeant Gee said: “Sunderland’s backing for the military and armed forces charities has been simply amazing. I am proud to play my part in helping the club and the fans support the Remembrance Commemorations.”
Ger Fowler from Veterans in Crisis – Sunderland said: “VICS would like to thank Sunderland Football Club for not only honouring serving service men and women at this time of year, but also the city’s veterans.
"This means the world to us and I am very proud that the club has asked us to take part on Saturday.”
Sunderland AFC’s Managing Director, Tony Davison, said: “The North East has a very proud military tradition. Saturday’s match is our opportunity to show support and appreciation, as a club, to the armed forces personnel and their families for the great sacrifices they have made, and continue to make, in the service of their country.”
Sunderland AFC also has a long-standing commitment to Tickets for Troops, the organisation that provides free tickets to members of the Armed Forces for a variety of sporting, musical and cultural events.