West Ham United: Hammers lead way in Woodland Trust WW1 charity project
Premier League side West Ham United have become the first club to reach their fundraising target for a special project to remember footballers who served and died during World War One.
The Hammers were one of 63 teams who signed up to the Woodland Trust's 'For Club and Country' campaign.
Fans have raised more than £2,000 as the scheme gathered momentum as part of the wider Football Remembers project.
The money will see 100 trees planted at a centenary wood in Surrey.
The 100 year anniversary of Armistice Day proved a driving force for Hammers fans to get involved in the Woodland Trust campaign which was spearheaded by West Ham legend and former England midfielder Sir Trevor Brooking.
Star Premier League players including Harry Kane of Tottenham and Chelsea's Eden Hazard also gave their support.
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The 'West Ham Til I Die' forum saw supporters get behind the campaign after a post by Iron Liddy, who said: "West Ham fans have been a community for over a century and there is a real sense of kinship and belonging.
"It's this sense of connection that inspired us to create a memorial woodland for those members of our football community who sacrificed their lives in World War One.
"The woodland will create not only a living memorial for those who died but one that will enrich our environment, and provide a peaceful place for contemplation and healing."
A West Ham spokesperson said the supporters' response had been "brilliant".
"The club is fully behind this great campaign and incredibly proud of how much money that has already been raised."
'For Club and Country' is part of the wider Centenary Woods project which has planted over three million trees in commemoration between 2014-2018.
Four flagship woods have been created in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with trees planted in commemoration by school children, community groups and local authorities. More than 100 landowner woods have been created.
For every £20 donated trying to reach the £2,000 'For Club and Country' target, a tree will be planted to remember footballing heroes who fell in the Great War.