Sunderland's Stadium of Light falls silent as respects are paid to military heroes

Players and fans united today as a hush fell over the Stadium of Light as part of Remembrance commemorations.

Saturday, 29th October 2016, 11:40 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:03 am
Members of the Armed Forces joined players on the pitch as a moment's silence is held ahead of today's kick off.

A period of silence was held ahead of Sunderland AFC's match against Arsenal today as part of the country-wide mark of respect.

More than 1,000 serving military personnel, veterans groups and families of soldiers who have lost their lives in the service of their country also joined the event ahead of the 12.30pm kick off.

It is the 12th year servicemen and women and their loved ones the club for the commemorations.

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Soldiers from the Household Division based at ITC Catterick paraded around the pitch before the game began and formed a guard of honour as the teams took to the pitch.

Sunderland's squad once again wore special poppy shirts, which will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

Colour Sergeant Chris Hunter, a Sunderland season card holder who has been in the Army for 17 years, laid a poppy wreath on the centre circle as the players gathered to observe the silence.

He said: "I am proud to play my part in helping the club and the fans to support the Remembrance commemorations."

Sunderland's chief executive Martin Bain said the event gave the club the opportunity to show its support and appreciation for the Armed Forces, their families and the sacrifices they have made.

He added it also helped as the region upheld its "long-standing and tremendously proud military tradition."

This year's activities have been held early as the team will be away to Bournemouth next Saturday, with no Premier League fixtures the weekend after due to an international break.

The next home game at the Stadium of Light will be against Hull City on Saturday, November 19.

The national commemorations take on added significance this year, as they coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Sunderland goalkeeper L. R. Roose died in what remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army.

His life, and that of six other former Sunderland AFC players killed in action in the first and second world wars, is commemorated in a monument by the stadium’s West Stand, which also recognises all those killed in the line of duty,

The club has a long-standing commitment to Tickets for Troops, the organisation that provides free tickets to members of the Armed Forces for sporting, musical and cultural events.