Each week we host a weekly veterans coffee morning for ex-armed forces and their families / carers, which takes place at the stadium. This week, in the build up to Remembrance Day, we were delighted to host Park School, which is an SEN school in Blackpool. The children and adults had a great time sharing stories and information about the military and our armed forces, and we have agreed to do it again next year!
At the recent Peterborough match, we also invited several armed forces related partners to attend the match as guests of the club and the Trust, to discuss
the future direction of our own veterans work. In attendance that day were the Royal British Legion, Duke of Lancaster Regiment, BST Veterans Representative, Fylde Memorial Arboretum and Community Woodland, Club Chaplain. We also distributed 40 tickets to local veterans.
For Saturday’s match we also had a significant contribution from the Trust as we invited six people, with links to the forces and the work that we do, to lead the team out. They are David Wylie (Royal Marines), Jordan Wylie (King’s Royal Hussars), Marianna Mitchell (Royal Army Medical Corp), Anthony Finch (Army Cadets), John Lawlor (Gurkhas) and Vinnie Lawlor (Gurkhas).
Marianna and her son, Anthony, have been pivotal in supporting our weekly veterans’ group, which John and Vinnie come along to as well. We are also very fortunate to have our own Veterans Ambassador and star of TV series Hunted, Jordan Wylie attend too with his father. All are Blackpool born and support Blackpool FC and we are proud of them all.
All of this builds on the work we did last year developing the project, which coincided with the Armistice Day centenary remembrance. One of the projects we worked on was to identify how many people represented Blackpool FC that had fallen during WWI. We were informed by the National Football Museum that there were six, but thanks to our local club historian, Gerry Wolstenholme, we identified two more. We linked in with the Fylde Memorial Arboretum and Community Woodland, a memorial area for local people who have fallen during conflict, and we now have an area dedicated to Blackpool FC, with trees and plaques to remember. In the coming years we would like to take this further and would welcome ideas.
Finally, our veterans and armed forces project was able to begin with funding from the Royal British Legion, for which we are very grateful. While the funding has expired and the work has been challenging, it has also been immensely rewarding. We are proud to support the Royal British Legion to raise awareness around this year’s campaign to Remember Together. In 2019 The Royal British Legion is asking communities across Britain to come together, join together and remember together the service and sacrifice, friendship and collaboration of the men and women of Britain, the Commonwealth and Allied nations who fought together 75 years ago. You can find out more about this by visiting their website.
If you would like to know more about the work we do supporting the veterans community, or you would like to get involved, please visit our website or contact Jason White on 01253 348691 or email@example.com.