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Rugby Clubs unite to remember fallen heroes

Fallen heroes from the Devon and Ulster Regiments, which served at the Battle of the Somme, are to be remembered ahead of tomorrow’s pre-season rugby friendly between Exeter Chiefs and Ulster Rugby.

A new exhibition is being set up for the day at Sandy Park Stadium, the home of the Chiefs, to remember 3,237 Allied servicemen from the Devon and Ulster regiments who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the first day of battle on July 1, 1916.

In what will be a moving tribute to those killed in battle, the Exeter Suite will not only lay out 3,227 shrouds – 16 per cent of the 19,240 total who died – but it will have other relevant information and footage about the battle itself.

Supporters from both clubs will be able to visit the exhibition for FREE ahead of kick-off and up until half time and pay their own respects.

The exhibition follows hot on the heels of the moving Shrouds of the Somme event, which was held in Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens back in July and saw a staggering 65,000 people visit the site.

The Shrouds of the Somme project saw Somerset-based artist Rob Heard personally create 19,240 shrouds as part of a powerful piece of community art that helped promote remembrance and raise money for charities, the Exeter Foundation and SSAFA.

Tony Rowe OBE, Chief Executive of Exeter Rugby Club, said: "Building on the success of the Shrouds of the Somme project held in Northernhay Gardens back in July, I’m delighted that we are now able to stage this latest exhibition here at Sandy Park this weekend.

"The fact that both the Devon and Ulster regiments lost a great number of men during the battle means this weekend’s fixture between the respective clubs has huge significance and we will be welcoming representatives from Ulster Rugby to come and pay their own respects."

Not only will supporters visiting the stadium tomorrow get the chance to view close hand the exhibition and the shrouds themselves, but there will be an opportunity for people to buy a shroud of their own and learn more about the events of the battle itself.

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