One hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War, an Emmanuel student took part in a commemorative football tournament at the site of the famous Christmas Truce.

Joshua Baggs, who was representing Sunderland Association F.C. Academy, spent three days in Ypres, Belgium, where German and English soldiers suspended hostilities on Christmas Day 1914 to play football.

Sunderland’s delegation was accompanied by one from each of the English Premier League’s other nineteen clubs.  In addition to playing football, representatives from each team laid wreaths at the Menin Gate war memorial, accompanied by the Premier League’s Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore.

Joshua has been playing football for four years, and trains with Sunderland Academy five times every week.  Having started out as a swimmer, the Year 7 student recalls that “my dad loved football as a kid and took me to football instead”.

Aside from his footballing commitments, Joshua is also a member of Emmanuel’s rugby team. To ensure he can balance his love of sport with homework, he comments that he has to “get it done as soon as I can!”

Joshua’s experiences in Belgium are a timely reminder of the continued power of sport to unite and bring out the best in people, even in the face of adversity.

Matthew Fairhurst 12 Roberts