World War One footballers' tree memorial cash struggle

By Ben Frampton
BBC News

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image source, Keith Fruin
image captionTom Witts (back row, second from left) was one of six Cardiff players to serve in World War One

A project to plant trees in memory of footballers who fought in World War One has raised just £2,100 of its £139,000 target in two years.

The Woodland Trust launched For Club and Country on 1 July 2016.

Cardiff City is one of dozens of clubs to have few or no donations and the Woodland Trust admitted raising awareness had been an issue.

Chairman of the Footballer Supporters' Federation Malcolm Clarke said he hoped fans would now get behind the cause.

Nottingham Forest fans have raised the most - £275 - with many clubs not getting a single donation and Cardiff City managing to raise £20.

For every £20 raised by fans of 62 clubs, one tree will be planted at a national memorial in Epsom, Surrey, with the aim being 100 trees for each club.

For Club and Country was adopted as part of the national Football Remembers campaign in October, which organisers hope will boost its profile.

Woodland Trust's Daniel Routt said: "It's been a busy couple of years starting things up and now we're part of Football Remembers, that's our first real big mass engagement."

Mr Clarke said: "Football as whole has always made a contribution to those who sacrificed their lives, including the Footballers' Battalion where players set aside their teams and came together in a common battalion.

"Since then, football fans have generally supported the Armistice - this is a scheme that not only marks that but helps the environment so I hope as many fans as possible find out about it and contribute."

image source, Geoff Caddick/Woodland Trust
image captionTrees are being planted at Langley Vale Wood in Epsom, Surrey, as well as around the UK

Clubs that have raised £30 or less

  • Barnsley
  • Birmingham City
  • Blackburn Rovers
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton Wanderers
  • Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Bristol City
  • Bristol Rovers
  • Burnley
  • Bury
  • Cardiff City
  • Croydon Common
  • Crystal Palace
  • Fulham
  • Gillingham
  • Glossop (North End)
  • Grimsby Town
  • Hull City
  • Lincoln City
  • Luton Town
  • Middlesbrough
  • Millwall
  • Newcastle United
  • Northampton Town
  • Norwich
  • Notts County
  • Oldham Athletic
  • Reading
  • Sheffield United
  • Southampton
  • Southend United
  • Stockport County
  • Stoke City
  • Sunderland
  • Swindon Town
  • Watford
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers

The Armistice 100 years on

image source, AFP

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Bluebirds defender Tom Witts died on 9 November 1918, two days before the Armistice was signed.

A member of the 15th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry, he was wounded on 7 November near the village of Limont Fontaine and died in a casualty station at Caudry.

Wally Stewart, a goalkeeper who spent the 1910-11 season with the Bluebirds, was also killed.

Cardiff City Supporters Club spokesman Vince Alm said he had never heard of the scheme, but was keen to support the cause.

He added: "We would definitely like to make a donation to that. Armistice Day is a huge thing and I'm sure we'd support our own players who fought and died."

Earlier this week, England captain Harry Kane joined team-mates as they planted trees at Tottenham Hotspur's training ground as part of the project.

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