Funding sought for WWI project


A Dublin concert aims to raise funds for building a sports park at Messines, Belgium, to commemorate the Christmas truce that temporarily halted the first World War.

The charity concert on Saturday, featuring the Omagh-Waterford Peace Choir, at Kimmage Manor church will be broadcast via satellite around the world and is being held with the International Christmas Carol and Folk Festival Flanders.

Concert organiser, author and journalist Don Mullan, hopes to raise €17,000 to build the sports park in memory of the men who died in the war and to build peace initiatives through sport.

The site in Belgium overlooks the scene where a game of football was famously played between British and German soldiers during the Christmas truce of 1914. It is also close to the Ireland Peace Park inaugurated by former president Mary McAleese in 1998 to commemorate war dead from both sides of the Border.

While the site has been made available by the mayor of Messines, extra funds are needed to develop it into the Flanders Peace Sport Field.

Mr Mullan said the project aims to bring young people from around the world to play football and other sports then return home to spread the message of peace in their own communities.

“The project is based on the premise that sport can be harnessed to support the attainment of key international development objectives,” Mr Mullan said.

“Such initiatives will serve to enhance the memory of the hundreds of thousands of young men tragically killed in the Great War, and serve to nurture belief in the primacy of life,” he added.

The concert begins at 8pm, and tickets cost €10.