The armed forces are pleased to be teaming up with Plymouth Argyle FC at a crucial stage in the club’s season in order to support members of the military, their families and veterans.
The eighth annual Armed Services Day LeagueTwo football match Argyle AFC Wimbledon will be taking place at Home Park, Plymouth, on Saturday (9 April), kick off at 3pm. It is not only a tribute to the sacrifice of armed forces personnel and their families, but a ‘must-win’ match for both teams who are vying for a good final position in the league.
Along with local VIPs including the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Dr John Mahony, the event will be attended by Major General Julian Free, Commandant of the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Air Chief Marshall Sir Peter Squire a retired senior RAF Commander and Commodore Ian Shipperley, the Royal Navy Base Commander at HM Naval Base, Devonport, Plymouth.
All are delighted to have been invited to join the crowd for the match dedicated to celebrating the contribution of the armed forces to the community and the nation. A charity collection will raise funds for the Plymouth branch of SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) helping serving and ex service personnel and their families.
Cdre Shipperley said: “On behalf of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport and all members of the armed forces based in the local area, I am delighted that, yet again we have been invited to join you for the match against
AFC Wimbledon, dedicated to celebrating the contribution of the Armed Forces to the community and the nation.
“Today’s Armed Forces continue the proud traditions of serving personnel and achievements of those that have gone before them, with the support of their families and friends, the men and women of our armed forces continue to fulfil their duties across the world. This event is an ideal opportunity for the local community to show the depth of support for our military personnel, youth organisations, veterans and their families.
“Once again, the armed forces would like thank Plymouth Argyle, for their generosity in inviting us to the match for their continued unwavering support of the armed forces.’’
Royal Navy Weapons Engineer Gary Milligan, 25, will be in the team presenting the match ball to the referee. He said: “I feel very honoured in being allowed to present the match ball on the day we celebrate our armed forces who are the reason we are safe and who are willing to give their lives for the people of this country and each other.’’
He has been diagnosed with the onset of Parkinson’s disease and due to be medically discharged from the Royal Navy. Help for Heroes (H4H) at the Naval Service Recovery Centre in Devonport, and his unit Hasler Company are helping his rehabilitation.
Gary, who has served on the former HMS Cornwall and took part in the November ceremonies and Queen’s jubilee ceremonies, said: “Part of my rehabilitation has focussed my mind on raising awareness of the disease; I am now an active member of the Argyle disabled football.
“This match is also is a fantastic way of spreading the word about Young Onset Parkinsons Disease to show that it is not just the older generation who this disease affects and how it changes the lives of all those who have it one way or another.’’
Plymouth Argyle Chief Executive Martyn Starnes said: “We look forward to welcoming local servicemen and women to our game against Wimbledon. Argyle is proud to represent a service city with a long-standing military tradition, and our Armed Services Day, when we can pay due tribute to our armed servicemen and women, is always an important highlight of any season.”
Military-themed attractions at Saturday’s game include armed forces recruiting teams, HMS Heroes military family school pupils and SSAFA outside the ground before the match. Before the match the following will take place inside the ground: Junior Field Gun demonstration, Sea Cadets TS Golden Hind horn pipe display, HMS Heroes choir, Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps of Drums, ball presentation by cadets and military personnel and a religious dedication ceremony by military chaplains. Half time features a Navy v Army Cadets penalty shoot-out competition. All events are subject to weather.