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Prince praises 10-year-old designer of First World War truce memorial

By Matt Cooper

A memorial dedicated to the soldiers who took part in the 1914 Christmas Truce has been jointly unveiled by its 10-year-old designer and the Duke of Cambridge.

Newcastle Upon Tyne schoolboy Spencer Turner, who won a national competition to design the tribute, was praised by the Duke for "capturing the very essence" of the troops who left their trenches to play football during the First World War.

The bronze memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire depicts a 'skeletal' image of a football encasing a handshake between a German soldier and a member of an English regiment in No Man's Land.

Addressing a service attended by FA chairman Greg Dyke and England boss Roy Hodgson, William described the work as "stunning".

He said: "We all grew up with the story of soldiers from both sides putting down their arms to meet in No Man's Land on Christmas Day 1914 - when gunfire gave way to gifts.

"It remains relevant today as a message of hope and humanity, even in the bleakest of times. Football, then as now, had the power to bring people together and break down barriers." The Duke, president of the FA since 2006, said he had been personally delighted to join Arsenal star Theo Walcott in judging the designs for the creation of a permanent and lasting monument to the truce.

William added: "We were both impressed with the creativity and thought put in by so many talented young people.

"Ultimately, though, we were left with a stand-out winner. Spencer captured the very essence of the Christmas Truce with his stunning design. It is vital that 100 years on, we keep the Christmas Truce story alive."

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