RANGERS will welcome around 250 armed services personnel to Ibrox on Saturday for the game against Livingston, as part of the club’s annual Armed Forces Day celebrations to honour the brave men and women of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF.
The celebrations will begin outside the Stadium, with community engagement activities in the Fan Zone from 12 noon, followed by the RAF Central Scotland Pipes and Drums, who will perform in the lead up to kick-off outside the Megastore and in the Fan Zone.
A representative from each branch of the armed services will lead the teams out onto the pitch and personnel from the RAF will abseil into the Stadium from the Sandy Jardine Stand, before handing the match ball over to the referee. A lone Piper from the army will also play pitch-side prior to kick-off.
As well as welcoming 250 troops to the stands, the club is also playing host to representatives from each branch of the armed services in the Directors’ Box.
Fans will be able to support Rangers Charity Foundation’s Armed Forces Fund via a can collection at the turnstiles. This season the Fund is aiming to raise £10,000 to be split between four services-related charities – SSAFA, Erskine, Bravehound and the Coming Home Centre in Govan.
Rangers Manager, Steven Gerrard, said: “Last season I experienced my first Armed Forces Day at Ibrox and the atmosphere was fantastic. The fans really gave the troops a welcome to remember and it was a great occasion.
“On behalf of the club and the players I am delighted to welcome the three branches of the services back to Ibrox this year to celebrate their contribution and sacrifice on our behalf.
“I’m sure the fans will back the Rangers Charity Foundation’s can collection today in support of the Armed Forces Fund, which does some incredible work with services-related charities.”
Lieutenant Commander Gary Farmer, Royal Navy, added: “The Armed Forces Day at Ibrox is an event that service personnel always look forward to! The Club has always had a strong relationship with the three Services and over the last few years we have been impressed with its commitment to the Armed Forces – especially the tireless work the Rangers Charity Foundation does to raise funds for service and veterans charities.
“Indeed, that work was recognised this year with Rangers and the Rangers Charity Foundation becoming the first football club and club charity to win an Employers Recognition Scheme Gold Award, due to their advocacy of the benefits of supporting the Armed Forces, Regulars, Reserves and Veterans communities – a tremendous achievement!
“Today over 250 servicemen and women, from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Airforce will be in the stands and we fully appreciate the support that we get from the Club and the supporters. We look forward to the event and thank everyone for their continued support.”
Fiona MacDonald from Bravehound commented: “Bravehound is delighted to be part of this fantastic Armed Forces Day at Ibrox, and to have been selected to benefit from the Rangers Armed Forces Fund, which will make a huge difference to the welfare support we are able to provide for each Bravehound through its lifetime.
“Bravehound dogs are transforming the lives of isolated veterans all over Scotland, and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone at the Rangers Charity Foundation for your support.”
Rangers FC and the Rangers Charity Foundation have a proud tradition of supporting serving personnel and veterans. The Foundation has donated over £180,000 in cash to armed forces and veterans’ charities to date, as well as significant in-kind support.
The club and Foundation donate tickets for veterans via the ‘Tickets For Good’ scheme and the Foundation’s Glasgow Veterans United programme, along with Glasgow’s Helping Heroes, ensures that veterans have the assistance they need to settle back in to civilian life. Serving personnel are also able to buy tickets for home league fixtures at a reduced price (subject to availability).
The club and Foundation also advocate for the Armed Forces Covenant with business contacts and this type of support earned the club and Foundation an Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award from the Ministry of Defence earlier this year, making them the first club and club charity in the UK to receive this accolade.
Armed Forces Fund Partners
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, provides lifelong support to serving personnel, veterans and their families. Last year, SSAFA caseworkers in Glasgow delivered personalised support to over 750 members of the Armed Forces community in need, providing practical, emotional and financial help through its network of volunteer caseworkers.
Erskine is Scotland’s foremost provider of care for veterans and their spouses, offering unrivalled nursing, residential, respite and dementia care in four homes throughout Scotland. In addition to the Erskine homes, the charity also operates a Veterans Village, comprising of 44 cottages, an Activity Centre, five assisted living apartments and single living apartments.
The Coming Home Centre’s mission is to serve those who have served, offering practical help and advice to veterans and a place to meet and enjoy peer support and camaraderie.
Set up in 2010 in the heart of Govan, close to Ibrox Stadium, the Coming Home Centre provides a place for veterans to get together, enjoy lunch or a cup of tea and talk with their peers. The Centre offers veterans access to a wide range of support and advice.
Bravehound provides companion and assistance dogs to veterans living with physical injuries and mental health conditions, including PTSD, anxiety and depression. A Bravehound dog gives their owner 24 hour companionship and a reason to get up in the morning and go out.
The charity provides veterinary care, training and support throughout each dog’s lifetime and also arranges social activities where isolated veterans can feel part of the community and be part of a team once again.