Poppy wreaths laid at Upton Park football ground to remember war dead

West Ham United's Chairman David Gold, centre, with Aston Villa CEO Paul Faulkner and Newham Mayor S

West Ham United's Chairman David Gold, centre, with Aston Villa CEO Paul Faulkner and Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales who laid wreaths ahead of Remembrance Sunday before the Barclays Premier League match in Upton Park on November 2 Picture: Stephen Pond/PA Wire - Credit: Archant

Soldiers from 7th Battalion The Rifles and members of the Royal British Legion formed a guard of honour as poppy wreaths were laid on the pitch at the Boleyn Ground.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales joined West Ham United joint chairman David Gold and Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Aston Villa Football Club, and supporters in a minute’s silence in memory of those lost in conflict at home and around the world.

Fans applauded as the soldiers, who are based in West Ham, formed the honour guard to the tune of David Bowie’s song Heroes. On the pitch the Hammers wore shirts embroidered with a poppy emblem, which will be auctioned in aid of the Royal British Legion.

Sir Robin, who laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Newham, said: “For many of us, war is what happens in other countries or something you see reported in the news. For others, it’s something very real that they have experienced first-hand.

“On Saturday we were remembering those from generations past that died defending others as well as those who continue to fall in conflicts and wars. And we remembered especially the West Ham Pals, the 13th Service Battalion of the Essex Regiment, a volunteer battalion formed by Hammers supporters in 1914.

“Remembrance Sunday is a time for us all to ensure that the lives that were lost, and the sacrifices that continue to be made as part of modern day conflicts, are never forgotten. And it is more poignant as we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

“There are very few members of the generation who remember the Great War left to recall the huge sacrifices that were made. The duty to remember therefore falls on us all and remembrance should become even more valued. Next year offers an opportunity to ensure that each generation understands how this tumultuous era of history has shaped our nation. We must use it well.”

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Residents are invited by Newham Council to a series of Remembrance Sunday services on November 10 across the borough.

They take place at East Ham Cenotaph, Central Park, High Street South, at 10.55am following a Royal British Legion parade; at All Saints West Ham Parish Church, Church Street, at 10.40am; at St Mark’s Memorial, Factory Road, North Woolwich, at 10.55am, and at St Luke’s Memorial, Tarling Road, Canning Town, from 10.30am.