Wooden Spoon British & Irish National Vets Embark on Historic Normandy Tour to Commemorate D-Day Anniversary

Normandy, France – A journey that intertwines the spirit of rugby with historical remembrance, the Wooden Spoon British & Irish National Spoon Vets embark on a significant tour to Normandy, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The tour, dubbed “Operation Spirit,” honours the historic events of June 6, 1944, which marked a turning point in World War II.

Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon, expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm for the event. “Your participation is making a difference in the lives of children and young people across the UK and Ireland who need our support,” Webb said. She emphasised the tour’s significance, noting, “You are becoming a small part of history—a moment we hope will stay with you forever.”

Stephane Leroux, Co-President of RC Caen, extended a warm welcome to the visiting teams from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Leroux highlighted the tour’s alignment with the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the ongoing celebrations of Liberation 80 in France. “We are celebrating the heroism of those who took part, and I am proud to share this moment with you,” he stated.

The tour will begin with the participants gathering at Havant RFC and travelling via an overnight ferry to Caen, France. The itinerary includes training sessions, a visit to the Pegasus Bridge Museum & Memorial, and a guided tour of local historical sites. The highlight of the trip will be the rugby matches at RC Caen, followed by the “Allies Celebration” BBQ and presentations.

A special commemorative playing shirt, designed by O’Neills UK, features intricate details that honour the D-Day landings. The shirt includes the date of D-Day inside the collar, the British and Irish standards, and a sublimated image of the landings. The design also pays tribute to relatives of Wooden Spoon tourists who served in WWII, many of whom sacrificed their lives for freedom.

We extend our sincere gratitude to our sponsors, Quark and Leigh’s Autos, for their invaluable support. Martin Owen, CEO of Quark, has been a steadfast supporter and active participant in Wooden Spoon events for many years. Leigh Wheatley, a recent addition to the B&I family, played a vital role in providing logistical support, and ensuring smooth travels for the team.

As part of the World Rugby Memorial ceremony, the Shorncliffe Trust introduced new memorial lanterns representing the Army, Navy, and Air Force. These lanterns symbolise the continued remembrance of those who served and sacrificed during WWII.

Wooden Spoon British & Irish National Spoon Vets tour to Normandy stands as a powerful tribute to the legacy of D-Day and the enduring spirit of rugby. It exemplifies the charity’s commitment to making a positive impact through sport, honouring history, and supporting young people in need.

Can’t attend? You can still support by donating via the Just Giving page.