SSAFA visit Broadstreet
Date: 5 Apr 2018
Military veterans have shared their moving stories of conflict with stars of Wasps during a visit to the club’s training ground.
More than 10 ex-servicemen visited Broadstreet Rugby Club and met with Wasps players including Danny Cipriani, Kyle Eastmond and Alex Rieder to share stories of their time in the Armed Forces.
SSAFA, the armed forces charity, are one of Wasps’ charity partners for the 2017/18 season and will be raising funds when Wasps face Worcester Warriors at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, 14th April.
Andy Hurn, from Nuneaton, joined the army straight from school at age 16 and was one of the veterans sharing his story with the players on the day.
He said: “I was 17 when I first went out to Ireland, but I wasn’t actually allowed to go out into action until I was 18.
“Once I turned 18 I was transferred to the third battalion. We weren’t told how long we would be out on the streets in Ireland and we lost six guys while we were out there.
“It was a lot for a young kid to take, and organisations like SSAFA are vital for when we come back.”
He was joined by Ray Turner, from Coventry, who served in the 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers between 1971 and 1977.
Ray said: “I played rugby from the age of 11 at Woodlands School and joined the army at 15, before joining my battalion at 17 and a half.
“I did a six-week tour in Cyprus and then went to do four four-month tours of Ireland, I still played rugby for the army in that time too.
“I left when my time was due up, found it difficult to start with too. Around 10 years ago I was diagnosed with MS and ended up in a wheelchair in 18 months.
“SSAFA helped me to get this £6,500 wheelchair and without this I wouldn’t be able to get around.”
Wasps have a history of supporting SSAFA starting with the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant nearly three years ago.
Wasps’ back-row Rieder, whose brother serves in the military, praised the work of SSAFA.
“It was interesting to hear about the mental side the guys go through, rather than just the physical. It is clear that SSAFA gives great support to these guys after they have left the Armed Forces, and often that proved vital in their transition back to civilian life.” said Rieder.
“The camaraderie is huge in the army and that shows through the charity, supporting people who have gone through similar experiences.
“They serve to protect the people they care about, and the rest of us too. They sacrifice a lot mentally and physically in terms of giving up their lives.
“It’s brilliant that we are able to showcase SSAFA at the Worcester game and help to highlight the work they do.”
Tickets for Wasps v Worcester Warriors on April 14 are available from www.wasps.co.uk starting from £22 for adults, while under-10s go free in some areas of the stadium.