The Royal Navy and Plymouth Argyle are joining forces to celebrate and benefit military personnel and their families with a Armed Services Day match on Saturday November 18 at Home Park.
The annual event is sponsored by the Royal Navy’s main industrial partner Babcock and centred on the Oxford United game. This year it will this year adopt the Women’s Royal Naval Service as the main charitable cause during the centenary year of the formation of the service. Collections will be made on behalf of the Women’s Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust.
Family fun is included among the many extra attractions inside and outside the ground and before and during the match. An exciting programme includes the Royal Marines zip wire experts delivering the match-day ball and unarmed combat display team. Other crowd pleasers will be a penalty shootout competition with the Argyle Youth Academy, the HMS Drake Volunteer Band, Military Kids Choir, veteran standard bearers, Royal Navy chaplain and Plymouth Pipe Band.
WRNS veteran Pennie Burne said: “It’s fantastic to see Plymouth and Plymouth Argyle supporting us ‘Wrens’. Plymouth is a Naval city and with the club is a huge part of the life of the people here. It’s really appropriate for us to be supported in this way in 2017 – 100 years after the WRNS formation. There are so many former Wrens and current Royal Navy serving females living here.’’
Argyle manager Derek Adams said: “We look forward to welcoming servicemen and women to our match against Oxford United. Armed Services Day is a day everyone at Home Park looks forward to. It is a fine occasion and an opportunity for the club, the city and the community to show the depth of support for our military personnel, youth organisations, veterans and their families.”
Pauline Lake, chair of the HMS Drake branch of the WRNS Association, said: “We are very grateful to the football club and for the support of the Royal Navy for this special occasion. We are marking the WRNS 100 years to remind the younger members of the Royal Navy about us trail blazers for women’s careers in the Naval Service. We are privileged to be the main charity of the day. There are plenty of women now and in the future who will need the help of the Benevolent Trust, we hope supporters will be generous.’’
Although the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) was disbanded in 1993, about 45,000 women served and a large pool of potential beneficiaries of the charity. The WRNS Association represents formers members and current female members of the Royal Navy.
The Women’s Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust was formed in 1942 to help cases of hardship among thousands of women who served in the WRNS and transferred to the Royal Navy before 1939. This amounts to a potential 143,000.
The trust helps about 350 former Wrens and their families. The trust works to provide help by issuing grants and using specialists of the Royal British Legion and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association). Grants can range from small to large, to provide a cooker or a household adaptation for instance.