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60 years since the Munich Air Disaster: A befitting, beautiful service

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With the help of first-team players Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, young people involved with Manchester United Foundation took part in a commemorative film for the 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.

The Foundation was formed in 2007 as a lasting legacy to the Busby Babes, eight of whom tragically lost their lives on 6 February 1958.

Munich Air Disaster.jpg

 

Manchester United legends, players and fans gathered together at Old Trafford on Tuesday to pay a moving tribute.

Jose Mourinho and his players were all in attendance for the special ceremony, which was open to all supporters.

 

Two of the survivors from the crash, Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg, were also there, while Sir Alex Ferguson, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and club director Michael Edelson did readings on a highly emotional day.

Over the past 11 years, Manchester United Foundation has epitomized the club’s historic ethos of celebrating youth by seeking to make a difference to the lives of young people across Greater Manchester. In line with United’s youth vision championed by Sir Matt Busby and his successors, the Foundation’s mission statement is to Engage, Inspire and Unite young people.

In commemoration of the anniversary of the Munich tragedy, the Foundation invited young people from various projects to take part in the special film, alongside the first-team stars, as a celebration of the club’s history and the way in which the memory of the Babes lives on through the charity.

The focus of the short film is a poignant poem, which encompasses the lasting legacy of those who lost their lives on that fateful day, whilst echoing the fact that the Busby Babes will ‘never die’ in the hearts of the club and its fans.

Young people from Foundation partner schools, powerchair football team and Girls’ Regional Talent Club, joined Herrera, Lingard and Rashford to recite the poem, as the footage is interspersed with emotive imagery of the Busby Babes and newspaper clippings from the tragic event, before breaking into celebration with footage of the huge ‘We’ll Never Die’ banner being held aloft by fans in the Stretford End.

Lingard said: “As youth players, the history of the club is instilled in us and it’s really important that we learn and understand about what happened in 1958 – not just about the air disaster, but also what an amazing team the Busby Babes were and the legacy they left.

“All the players from the Academy through to the first team understand the importance of us remembering the Munich Air Disaster and we were really happy to support the Foundation film, because like the young people in the film, we all support Manchester United and its history, so it was a nice way to pay our respects.”

Chris, 20, who plays for the Manchester United Foundation Powerchair team, said: “It made me proud to take part in the filming to celebrate something so special in United’s history. As a Manchester United fan, it’s so special to represent the club as a player and to wear the badge that many legends have worn. Even though I have got a disability, I’m proud to still be a part of the club and receive these opportunities.”

Cara, who plays for the Manchester United FA Girls’ Regional Talent Club Under-16s team, added: “I felt very privileged to take part in something that means so much for so many people throughout the world.  As a Manchester United Girls’ footballer, I feel honored to represent a club with so much history and be part of an enormous worldwide family. I try to live by the Manchester United values, not only while playing football, but generally in life.”

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