Stowmarket referee’s ride raises £2,300 and honours football’s WW1 fallen

Paul Quick at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery near Passchendaele in Belgium at the end of the ride

Ex-Army football referee Paul Quick has raised more than £2,300 on a ride to the Somme during which he was asked to lay a wreath on the Football Battalions’ Memorial.

Paul, from Stowmarket, was one of 140 cyclists on the 220-mile ride, organised by the SSAFA armed forces charity.

Paul, 51, was an Army aircraft engineer for almost 30 years, and though he left five years ago, still works at Wattisham Airfield as the fleet planner on Apache helicopters.

He is also a Level Three football official and referees in the Bostik and Thurlow Nunn Leagues and was one of only two referees on the ride.

The Football Battalions were made up mostly of professional footballers. They were formed after public criticism of matches still being played while others fought.

Paul said: “Visiting the Football Battalions at Delville Wood was quite a moving experience but this was overshadowed by the visual evidence of the enormity of the loss of life.

“You can write the number of dead and missing and it is just that, a number. To see the amount of cemeteries, headstones and names on memorials really brought home the devastating effect this War had on families.”

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