Aldershot Town FC thank all supporters who donated so generously to the 2015 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal on Saturday.
The total raised, £506.92, surpasses last year’s amount raised by the Club and begins a series of events to commemorate Armistice Day and celebrate Aldershot Town’s links with the British Army.
The Appeal was launched on Friday morning by Aldershot Town manager Barry Smith, Garrison Commander, Lt Col Nigel MacGregor, Garrison Sergeant Major, WO1 Tom McCabe, and representatives of all ten units currently stationed in Aldershot. Over 200 poppies will remain on display around the ground until the end of the appeal.
That was followed, on Saturday afternoon, by a collection at the EBB Stadium, organised by the Aldershot Branch of the Royal British Legion and members of 1 Platoon Aldershot Army Cadet Force.
Further initiatives include a minute’s silence before The Shots’ Vanarama National League home game against Lincoln City on Tuesday 10 November, which will see the teams led out by standard bearers representing the three branches of the Armed Forces plus the Royal British Legion and Cadet Force. D-Day veteran and Vice-Chairman of the Aldershot Branch of the Royal British Legion, Lewis Trinder, will also attend the match.
Then, on Saturday 14 November, as Aldershot Town travel to Kidderminster Harriers in another league game, both team captains will wear a specially-designed armband which will then be auctioned on behalf of the Poppy Appeal.
The Shots’ ongoing Seats For Soldiers campaign – which donates free match tickets to serving personnel – will continue throughout the season, after being launched in 2014 when Aldershot Town became the first football club to sign up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. The Covenant, which honours and supports all past and present members of the British Armed Forces, dictates that no member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services, and in some circumstances may receive special treatment.
“I think it’s a great relationship that we have between the Garrison and Aldershot Town Football Club,” explained Lt Col MacGregor, “and I couldn’t think of a better way to launch the Hampshire Poppy Appeal, or a better group of people to celebrate it with. This is a fantastic total with which to start the Appeal and we thank everybody who donated so generously.
“In my short time in this job one thing that has really struck me is the relationships between the Garrison, the town and the Football Club – you couldn’t ask for a better relationship. Sport is a great part of the British Army, and something that people are very passionate about, so why wouldn’t we celebrate it with Aldershot Town? The Club has been instrumental in supporting the Army, particularly in being the first Club to sign up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, and we recognise the excellent work that they are doing.”
Aldershot Town Chairman, Shahid Azeem, continued: “We are very proud to represent the Home of the British Army, and to support the Garrison as a vital part of our local community, and thank our loyal fans for joining us in that support. We are delighted to continue to both raise money for a wonderful cause and commemorate the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces. We salute every single person who has served our country with great courage and honour.”
First held in 1921, and inspired by John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields, the annual Poppy Appeal raises money for the Royal British Legion’s work in supporting members of the Armed Forces, their families and dependents.