In the past month the clubs and referees have been humbled by the story of the former member of HM Royal Marines Graham Monk who has spoken at the League Meeting on the 9th January and to the Referees last Monday.
Graham was a serving member of our armed forces for 10 years touring all over the world, but notably Iraq twice, Bosnia and Afghanistan. In 2011 Graham was out on patrol in Afghanistan when they fell foul of an IED. Graham spoke of how he woke to see his commanding officer above him telling him to close his eyes. The officer then cut off his leg with his Bayonet. Graham suffered serious injuries. As well as the leg being amputated, he is blind in one eye, has no feeling in his left arm which he may yet lose as well, suffered shrapnel injuries to his lungs and brain injures which meant he has had to learn to walk and talk again.
It gets worse. The Government then carried out cuts to the armed forces, which meant Graham was out on his own. Injured, no pay, no home. Harrowing. If it were not for the support of his family and girlfriend he would have been homeless, like many of his colleagues; two of whom took their own life just last weekend.
Graham has received an amazing amount of help from the Royal British Legion, they have helped him rebuild his life, helped him learn to drive and get into some sort of work. The legion cannot carry out this work without Voluntary Contributions.
The league clubs voted that night to a man, that they would all donate £10 per club to the Legion, with many clubs immediately offering more.
The Referees on Monday all decided that they too will match the donation of the clubs, with £10 from an upcoming match fee to also go to the cause.
Both Referees and Clubs have expressed desires to hold Charity Football Matches and will work to arrange these later in the season.
To you reading this, you may buy your poppy in November, but the Charity needs funds throughout the year, and as a league we urge you to get involved and help these brave young men and women who put their lives on the line for our Country each day.