This Sunday (July 31st) Runcorn Linnets will host a groundbreaking football match in support of North West ex-servicemen’s charities, including one run by Everton FC.
The Inaugural Veterans’ Charity Shield takes place after the launch earlier in the year of the Knowsley Veterans’ Hub (KVH).
This project was initiated by Everton in the Community’s Health and Well Being arm and is funded by the Royal British Legion.
It aims to engage – through sport, training and social activities – former members of the armed forces, who are at risk of isolation.
Linnets agreed to a request to stage the match – bringing competitive debut action for Knowsley Veterans’ Hub footballers against Runcorn’s Hallmark Security League rivals, AFC Liverpool, whose home ground at Marine AFC was unavailable.
As a back drop to the 3pm kick-off match at The Millbank Linnets Stadium in Murdishaw Avenue, Runcorn, WA7 6DL, there will be a wide array of fun, family-orientated activities at the Halton Arms pub, next to the ground on the Halton Sports and Recreation Club site.
These are due to include bubble football, human archery, shooting ranges, a bouncy castle and a BBQ plus ‘live’ music from Widnes-based band The Odds.
Tickets are available to purchase at the turnstile at just £3 for adults with children under 11s being admitted free.
Profits from the day will be split between three charities supporting ex-military veterans across the region – Everton in the Community, Armed Forces Hub in Warrington and SAMS in St Helens.
Dave Curtis, EitC Knowsley Veterans’ Hub manager, said: “As part of our programme, we run weekly football sessions in Prescot with around 20 veterans turning out every week.
“We were keen to set up an annual Charity Shield competition to show how far we have come over the last ten weeks and are delighted that AFC Liverpool accepted our invitation.
“It will be a challenge but the support we have from our team manager Rob Ewan and Helen at Warrington Armed Forces Hub stands us in good stead.
“The camaraderie within the team is second to none; these sessions are about more than just football. They bring together like-minded people and work to reduce social isolation and improve physical fitness. I’m really looking forward to the game on Sunday 31 July and the money raised will help keep these sessions going every week.”
Derek Greenwood, chairman of Runcorn Linnets said: “We were delighted to be able to donate the use of our ground and facilities free of charge for this fixture in support of a very worthy cause.
“We are aware that there a lot of former military personnel suffering from the debilitating effects of things like combat stress and loneliness and were pleased to play our part in helping this inaugural Veterans Charity Shield fixture to go ahead.”
AFC Liverpool chairman, Chris Stirrup said: “We are really looking forward to the game. What the team at Everton in the Community is doing with its Knowsley Veterans’ Hub project is fantastic and helps all veterans regardless of who they support.”