Rugby League’s Whitehall Cenotaph ceremony to return this Friday

15 Jul 21, 8:09AM 0 Comments

Written by Rugby Football League

Rugby League supporters have the chance to join the Rugby Football League and representatives of this year’s four Wembley finalists and of Rugby League World Cup 2021 in paying tribute to the game’s fallen heroes at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on Friday morning.

The tradition of laying wreaths at the Cenotaph, which dates back to 1930, was revived in 2014, and had become re-established as an integral part of Challenge Cup Final weekend before it was suspended last year as a result of the pandemic. We are delighted it can return in 2021.

In a ceremony starting at 11am, Simon Johnson will lay a wreath on behalf of the RFL as Chair, and will be joined by representatives of the UK Armed Forces Rugby League, the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group, the Betfred Challenge Cup finalists Castleford Tigers and St Helens, the Finalists for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup, Featherstone Rovers and York City Knights – and this year, representatives from Rugby League World Cup 2021, Chair Chris Brindley MBE, and also three of their ambassadors, Jason Robinson OBE, Jodie Cunningham and James Simpson – representing the England Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair teams. A representative from the Royal British Legion will also lay a wreath.

A two-minute silence will commence on the stroke of 11:00 which will signify the start of the ceremonial. This will be followed by wreath-laying, prayers and the Rouse which will bring the ceremony to an end. 

“One of the many reasons I was honoured to be appointed Chair of the RFL was the opportunity to lead this tradition,” Simon Johnson explains. 

“It encapsulates the magnificent heritage of our game and how Rugby League is woven into the fabric of its communities and into the history of the North.

“I find it incredibly moving that the game of Rugby League can honour its sacrifice in the heart of the nation’s capital. Many people come to watch this solemn ceremony in their club colours. No other sport affords this visible respect to those it has lost.”

James Simpson, a RLWC2021 representative and current England Wheelchair international added: “It’s a massive honour to be invited to be part of such an iconic tradition for our sport – both as a Rugby League player, as well as a former member of the armed forces.”

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