THOUSANDS of people paid tribute to a Cwmbran soldier who was killed in Afghanistan with a memorial rugby match in his name.

Now in its fourth year, the Michael Thacker Cup took place at Caerleon RFC and was founded by friends of the Corporal who died in action in 2012.

Cheering crowds filled the rugby grounds as Caerleon RC beat charity team “Scotty’s Little Soldiers” 46-7, taking home the charity trophy.

Co-organiser and soldier, David Allison, helped organise the annual event alongside the Caerleon Fun Day, which saw more than 8,000 people attend on Saturday, May 28.

He said: “The memorial match is kicking off in a big way in South Wales and I have been told on several occasions that people didn’t know about Scotty’s Little Soldiers until they came to the match.

“I feel it will get bigger and bigger each year and it was a lovely sunny day. I couldn't have asked for more.

"Mike would have loved it. He is a cheeky chap he would have definitely been humbled and appreciated the limelight.”

The charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers was set up by Nikki Scott in 2009 after her husband Corporal Lee Scott was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Since being set up the charity has supported children of men and women killed while serving in the British Armed Forces, providing Christmas gifts, birthday gifts and treats.

Its rugby team is also a world-record holder, after raising £80,000 by completing the longest continuous game of rugby — 25 hours — at the Leicester Tiger’s stadium.

Newport’s Mayor David Atwell attended the charity match, meeting players and organisers of the event, which was sponsored by General Dynamics.

Other sponsors included Libbies Flower Boutique, Andrew Jones Construction and Bridgetime Transport Ltd.

Mr Allison said: “My feeling is that there is a lot of support for servicemen and women through charities like Help for Heroes.

“Children also play a massive role and they are the ones who suffer a lot in the long term so having initial support for them is important."

He added: “Nikki of Scotty's Little Soldiers has done a great job and that definitely needs a massive acknowledgement.

“In the future we plan to expand the event into a rugby festival, with camping, rugby tournaments and kids entertainment alongside the fun day. It will all be in Michael’s name.”