Anyone who approaches Stamford Bridge from the Fulham Broadway side on match day will, at some point, have heard the dulcet Scottish tones of Billy MacLeod urging you to part with your change in aid of wounded servicemen and women in exchange for a nifty blue and yellow wristband.
No super salaries and branding here. Billy is a former soldier himself, and founded Veterans in Action with other retired army men who had been wounded, or suffered emotional distress/mental health issues as a result of their service. The team all fundraise on the front line for their cause.
I've been pounding the streets with Billy and his team before matches and they are hugely passionate about what they do. Veterans in Action helps former service people help themselves. By organising team building and group activities they help them get back out into the world and to feel like themselves again as part of their rehabilitation. Events of late or in planning include cycling the new forest and planning for a three peak climbing challenge and an epic road trip across Europe.
This November season ticket holders from the Shed Upper, three of us, are raising money for VIA by taking part in our own challenge. We'll be walking from the Dead Sea in Jordan to the ancient city of Petra in aid of their brilliant work in practically helping veterans. Not only will we be missing the Scouse away game, but there will be no gin. So aside from the walking it is a challenge indeed. We'll be going past Crusader forts, Roman tin mines, and locations from both Indiana Jones and Lawrence of Arabia to tot up the miles.
We've had some amazingly generous contributions from friends, fellow Blues, ex-service men and women across the globe, as well as fans of other clubs — thank you! — but any more donations, however small, would be greatly appreciated to top up our fundraising efforts before we head out.
We're using Virgin Money Giving, because unlike a certain other extremely well known platform, they don't take any of your donations for their own profit. If you'd care to show your support for those in uniform, you can follow the link below to chip in, in advance, thank you.