The Rangers Charity Foundation and Football Club were thrilled to welcome 150 representatives from across all branches of the Armed Forces to Ibrox Stadium for their annual Armed Forces Day celebration last Saturday.
Personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force were present as the playing teams, Rangers and St Johnstone, entered the pitch. As excitement for the match mounted, Royal Marines abseiled down to the pitch from the top of the Sandy Jardine Stand, before handing the match ball to the referee.
Since signing the Armed Forces Covenant in 2016, both Rangers Football Club and its Charity Foundation have enjoyed a strong and supportive relationship with the Defence community. Serving personnel have the option of buying tickets for home league games at a reduced price, and the Charity Foundation works closely with a number of Armed Forces charities.
Through their unwavering commitment to supporting the Armed Forces and advocacy of the Covenant among their extensive networks, Rangers became the first club and associated charity to receive the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award from the Ministry of Defence.
Throughout Saturday’s event, visitors to the stadium had the opportunity to contribute to collections for the Rangers Charity Foundation’s Armed Forces Fund. This season the funds raised will be split between three military-related organisations: Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health; SSAFA, a charity that provides lifelong support to serving and former members of the Regular and Reserve Forces; and Poppyscotland, a fellow ERS Gold Award winner supporting service personnel, veterans and their families.
Club manager Michael Beale said of the event: ‘There is always a very special atmosphere at Armed Forces Days at Ibrox and we are delighted to welcome the three branches of the services back to the stadium this year to acknowledge their huge contribution and sacrifices on our behalf.’
Commander Gary Farmer, Northern Area Officer Sea Cadets who represented the Royal Navy at the celebrations, said: ‘The Royal Navy is delighted that the Rangers Charity Foundation and the Club will be supporting the Armed Forces once again.
‘The Charity Foundation works tirelessly to raise funds for service and veterans’ charities, setting their goals high and pushing themselves to the limits. We have worked closely with the Club over the last few years and have been impressed with their commitment to the Armed Forces, our veterans and our service charities, and we recognise the Club is a key signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant.’
‘We’ve been working closely with Rangers Charity Foundation and Football Club for many years now,’ said Charlie Cook, Regional Employer Engagement Director for Lowland RFCA. ‘They are a prime example of a Forces-friendly employer, consistently going above and beyond to support the military community through events, fundraising and promotion of the Armed Forces Covenant.’