The Wooden Spoon veterans’ rugby team has recorded a moving rendition of The Green Fields of France, the noted anti-war song, as a Christmas charity single.
The 40-strong squad first performed the song whilst on tour at the Tournoi Rugby De L’Armistice in Compiègne on 11 November 2018. The tournament commemorated the centenary of the signing of the 1918 Armistice which ended the bloodshed of the First World War. The tour was led by Wooden Spoon Ambassadors, and British and Irish Lions legends, John Taylor and Fergus Slattery.
The Green Fields of France is now available to download on iTunes and other online retailers with all profits going to Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby.
The Armistice Rugby Tournament was organised by The World Rugby Memorial in conjunction with the City of Compiegne and Conseil Departmental l’Aisne. The commemoration included a formal presentation dinner on Saturday evening attended by over 400 officials, dignitaries and players of all ages. The veteran teams were in fine voice at the dinner and exchanged traditional rugby songs embodying the spirit of rugby and remembrance. An impromptu performance of The Green Fields of France, by Wooden Spoon’s very own Sean Eley silenced the room, brought tears to everyone’s eyes and raised everyone to their feet for a standing ovation!
Back in the UK, tourist Richard Beevers had the idea of recording the song professionally and releasing it as a Christmas charity single to raise more funds, and The Wooden Spoon Choir was born. The choir is made up of the touring veteran rugby players which included serving and former military personnel from the UK and overseas. The project took just three weeks from concept to release and has been managed and funded by the players themselves.
Fergus Slattery (who’s Grandfather was wounded in France in 1916) commented: “The Wooden Spoon Vets Choir are passing on to younger generations the importance of remembrance but also the tradition of rugby singing which helps to enhance camaraderie across the world.”
Matt Mitchell, Wooden Spoon National Rugby Manager added: “This single captures the essence of the Armistice Tournament and is a poignant reminder that so many service men and women, civilians and “rugby-men” gave their lives in WW1 for the world we live in today”.
Quentin Smith, Wooden Spoon Chair of Trustees, said: “Wooden Spoon’s mission to support and transform the lives of children and young people with disabilities and disadvantages across the UK and Ireland is a direct descendant of the Allies’ mission as they fought alongside each other for a better life for generations to come. Their sacrifice was immense both in terms of the huge number of lives lost and casualties but also for each individual loss.”
Wooden Spoon’s members, supporters, players, volunteers and ambassadors work tirelessly to ensure that, through the power of rugby, every child and young person, no matter what their background, has access to the same opportunities.
Find out more at www.woodenspoon.org.uk