The founder of a football club has been hailed as “absolutely magic” after one of the most prestigious regiments in the British Army helped pay a poignant tribute to a late soldier and footballer at a special Remembrance match.

Private Tom Lake was a member of the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales Regiment, who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan on November 20, 2011.

Pte Lake played for Oxhey Jets and the club again honoured his memory on Saturday, facing Coldstream Guards FC for the second year running with all proceeds donated to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

More than 320 people were at the Boundary Stadium to watch the Combined Counties League side ease to a 9-0 victory in the game following their 6-0 success 12 months ago. The fixture is not about the result though, but the occasion and what it represents as a moving act of Remembrance and tribute to Pte Lake was held prior to the game.

Watford Observer: Two Guards lead out the parade.Two Guards lead out the parade. (Image: Anthony Matthews)

Coldstream Guards manager Sgt Craig Backhouse praised Jets general manager John Elliott, who founded the club 50 years ago, for holding the event.

He said: “John pulls the stops out every time. He’s magic, absolutely magic. He loves it which makes us enjoy even more.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Tom Inch, who was in caretaker charge of the team alongside head coach David Barnes following the sacking of Kevin Christou last week.

The Jets assistant manager said: “It’s a great day. I was involved last year which was my first one, but I’ve known John since I was 16, 17 and I’ve played for the club year after year. He puts so much into it and this means so much to him.

“The ceremony side of it, John would be proud of everyone because they are all good lads, and then we just had to make sure we took that onto the pitch as well.”

Watford Observer: The two minute's silence.The two minute's silence. (Image: Anthony Matthews)

Two Guards led the official party onto the pitch as piper Colin Macdougal played a lament. Following the National Anthem, wreaths were then laid by councillors, the police, football association representatives, the match officials, young players from Oxhey Jets Youth and both teams.

After bugler Tom Hammond had sounded The Last Post, a two minutes’ silence was held before the Garry Beadle Memorial Trophy, named after the late Jets player who died in 2019, was presented in recognition of the Guards’ involvement in the fixture as both teams lined up for a group photograph.

Watford Observer: Dignitaries meet the two teams before kick-off.Dignitaries meet the two teams before kick-off. (Image: Anthony Matthews)

The event and commemorative programme also recognised the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War – former Jets player Steve Stone served on HMS Bristol during the conflict – the death of Her Majesty the Queen and the Coldstream’s integral role in her state funeral.

The Guards are due to be on deployment next year and so will be unable to take part in the Remembrance match for a third year running, but the two clubs are friends and Sgt Backhouse would “without a shadow of a doubt” be delighted to bring a team back again in the future.

He said: “It’s like a home away from home and John makes everybody that’s involved so welcome. It’s a breath of fresh air.”