This month at Highclere Castle we’ve had a very different project: we have been hiring rollers, sweepers and different lawn mowers to create a one off football pitch for the Heroes at Highclere event.
My husband played football, so he has various views of how to create a football pitch, as do all the men who have happily turned to this project. Simon and James from the farm along with Paul, Robin and Don from the gardens, have been cutting and trimming, Sid and Bob have been in charge of diggers and rollers and Sid gave me my training today as we all need to ‘pitch in’.
Why are we doing this? Well because on Sunday August 3rd we are holding a very special football match between German and British players, here in the grounds of Highclere Castle or as many of you have come to know it “Downton Abbey”.
A year ago we had thought we would commemorate the First World War through music and football, two themes to transcend a shared past , a devastating war that should not have happened.
The story of the Christmas truce of 1914 is a glimmer of something positive in those long four years of war. British soldiers were amazed to see many Christmas trees with candles and paper lanterns, on top of German trenches. A German soldier called out “Merry Christmas English, we’re not shooting tonight” The shooting stopped and the both sides began singing Carols. Cautiously German and English men climbed out and together, stepped into no-man’s land. An Englishman threw a football across, they kicked it back and one of the most famous football matches took place. Goals were set up and it was perhaps 70 or 80 a side.
I had envisaged an informal match, and was wondering how to embark on this project. Fortunately a German company Bayer offered to help recreate the match for us and support the event. I am indebted to their generosity and the huge amount of effort and time they have put into making this idea a reality. We have two amazing teams, a celebrity all-stars British team against an (undoubtedly euphoric) German team, which Bayer are flying over.
Just as we are uniting with Bayer we invite you to join with us in this unique day out for all the family. Come and fill the grandstands and cheer for both teams, who today are not playing above the trenches but here in the grounds at Highclere Castle – united.
Lady Carnarvon! I’m so very excited for this event – so glad to be a part of it and witness it!
Do you know what time the match will be on in the day itself – I hope you don’t mind me asking.
Thank you again for putting together this event!
This is fantastic Highclere Castle this has to be a 1st of its kind to happen since the Christmas truce of 1914. I wonder if the truce had held & the war came to an end what would the out come have been like, I know it would have been a very different world thats for sure.. Great Photos & nice write up :o)
What a wonderful thing to do. The song Christmas in the trenches, by John McDermott, is one of my favorite. Good luck on your venture. Love reading on the happenings at Highclere. Waiting patiently for the next episode of Downton Abbey.
There are children’s books about the truce that would help young people understand this event:
“War Game” by Michael Foreman; “Christmas in the Trenches” by John McCutcheon; and “Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting” by Jim Murphy.
This is a great idea. Let’s hope it does not go to penalties or we know who will win!
Now THAT is a hat for some serious mowing!
I’m sure this event will be a great success and
an encouragement for peace where there is turmoil.
I got goose bumps reading your referral to the Christmas Truce.
Makes me smile that that Highclere takes us so far back in history, and here we are with a Countess
having her own blog!
I can’t wait to visit Highclere in September – especially as Downtown Abbey is my favourite show.