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Highclere Castle and the First World War

On August 3rd 2014, exactly 100 years after the last day of peace and the start of the First World War, Highclere commemorated those who gave their lives in a war that devastated Europe and caused loss and grief on an unimaginable scale.

On Christmas Eve 1914, however, the fighting in the trenches stopped. Hands reached out and there was a moment of humanity and hope. In remembrance we recreated a German/English football match here at Highclere Castle with the help of Bayer.

The focus of the day was to seek to raise money for people today who are still facing heartbreaking hardships through the ravages of war.

We were hugely grateful to Archbishop Lord Carey who took the Church service, to our amazing acts, including Alexandra Burke, Elizabeth McGovern (aka Cora Grantham) and the Military Wives Choir. The aerial displays were outstanding, and the Red Devils parachuted in. Bayer kindly sponsored a football match to commemorate the match that took place above the trenches in 1914. The Castle itself was once again a hospital as it had been during the war.

We would like to thank again our sponsors Bayer, all the footballers who gave up their time, and all our volunteers.

Thank you also to the sublime Australian baritone Morgan Pearse, who moved us all to silence as he sang “Silent Night/Stille Nacht” before the start of our game, 100 years after the beginning of the First World War.

Please enjoy the video Bayer created and the photos from August 2014 as we approach Christmas Eve 2014, 100 years on from the glimmer of hope which flickered but was again lost.