A new Sheffield Wednesday initiative will see the club offer support to forces’ families who have suffered bereavement.
The partnership was being launched today in memory of Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was brutally murdered on the streets of Woolwich, London, last year.
Team Lee Rigby United Forces will also seek to give aid to the millions who have served or are currently serving in the forces and their dependants, with emotional, social and financial support.
Lee’s mother Lyn Rigby and her family were due to be special guests of Wednesday today for the home game against Charlton Athletic at Hillsborough Stadium.
Lyn, who was due to conductt he half-time draw, was due to be joined on the pitch by another supporter of the scheme, Paralympic Team GB skier and lifelong Wednesdayite, Mick Brennen.
Mick is an ex-military sergeant in the bomb disposal team serving in Iraq who lost the lower parts of his legs in action.
To launch the campaign, the Owls will be selling custom-made Team Lee wristbands, with all proceeds going to the organisation.
Sheffield city centre-based promotional gifts supplier Steel City Marketing, of Allen Street, have produced and donated 5,000 wristbands.
Spencer Taylor, Wednesday spokesman, said: “It is a great honour to announce the partnership with Lyn for Team Lee and we are delighted the club are showing its support.
“We hope Wednesday fans show their support by wearing the Team Lee wristbands and back this fantastic cause.
“Many families, like Lee’s, are left to deal with the aftermath of conflict and this partnership will offer emotional and financial support to those who need it most.”
Lyn said: “It’s so good to have support from a club like Sheffield Wednesday as they care so much about charitable causes.
“I was told of the incredible unity shown by Wednesday fans and Glasgow Rangers fans in Lee’s memory when they met at Hillsborough last summer and I was completely overwhelmed by it.
“Sheffield Wednesday will help drive Lee’s memory in a positive way and ensure his legacy is long-lasting.
“Lee loved his football so it seems perfectly fitting to honour his memory in this way.”
Fans urged to pay tribute to Jonny
Sheffield Wednesday fans were today being urged to pay tribute to lifelong fan Jonny Eales.
Jonny is in poor health and his son Chris says doctors do not expect him to be around next season – meaning today’s match at home to Charlton, the last home game of the season, could be Jonny’s last visit to Hillsborough.
Fans were preparing to belt into song for Jonny on the 12-minute mark at today’s game – and Chris has been calling on as many people as possible to sing.
The Star asked Twitter and Facebook users to make this happen and it has had more than 32,000 views on The Star’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar – alone.
Chris said: “My dad is a true Wednesdayite. Despite living in Coventry, he has held a season ticket for more than four decades following the team all over. For a dying Owl to hear his name sung by the kop at what could well be his last game would just be amazing for him.”
He said his dad has a serious heart complaint and other conditions, which means he would not survive surgery.
Walk between stadia marks anniversary of match disaster
About 40 people set off from Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on a 96-mile walk to Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
Some 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush at Hillsborough at the match in 1989.