Bradford City have showed their support for the military charity ‘Tickets For Troops’ by agreeing to donate home match tickets to servicemen and women for the rest of the season.
The club will donate 100 free tickets to the charity for every home league game for the remainder of the 2015/2016 campaign, starting with this Saturday's match with Peterborough United at the Coral Windows Stadium.
Tickets For Troops recognises the drive, dedication and commitment of servicemen and women by offering them, on behalf of their donors, tickets to events that they can share with their loved ones, as a small acknowledgement of the work they do.
Servicemen and women are eligible to apply for tickets through Tickets for Troops if they are a serving member of HM Armed Forces, or have been medically discharged from the Forces since the commencement of military action in Afghanistan in 2001. Serving members include both Regulars and Reserves.
Life-long City supporter Mary Thornton - who enjoyed a visit from the FA Cup last season during the club's memorable run to the quarter-finals - used to serve in the Navy back in the 1950s.
She was on hand to join City's Chief Operating Officer James Mason at the Coral Windows Stadium this Friday to promote the club's involvement with the military charity.
Mrs Thornton, a member of the Shipley Bantams Supporters' club, said: "I think it’s a wonderful idea to give tickets to the troops. They deserve something the troops, don’t you think so?’
"I served in the Wrens, the Women’s Royal Naval service, for four years back in the 1950s.
"It wasn’t war time when I served of course, but I was away from home in Malta for two years. I was on Lord Mountbatten’s staff for two years.
"I met my husband in Malta, he was Royal Marine Commando. Any help for the troops like this, is fantastic.
"I absolutely would encourage the service people to take this offer up, especially the ones living in Bradford.
"Of course they would be welcome at Bradford City. What I would say is, if I was coming to the game alone and I didn’t know anybody, I would speak to the person beside me. People are very friendly and if you turn and talk to somebody then they’ll talk to you.
"I’m proud that my club are doing this, I’m proud of them anyway!
"I think it’s fantastic, and it proves that it’s not just about money in football."
City Chief Operating Officer James Mason himself said: "I was approached by a Bradford City fan in the armed forces who is from Keighley asking whether we, as a club, would offer discounted tickets for troops and other armed forces.
"We looked into this and very quickly found the ‘Tickets for Troops’ scheme, which we know lots of other clubs and organisations take part in. I spoke to both chairmen and they concurred with the idea of this here at Bradford City.
"Bradford City has always welcomed troops to any of their games and when I approached the chairmen, we decided there was no reason why we couldn’t offer a significant number of tickets.
"We did some research and it seems lots of other clubs are offering up to 50 tickets and we thought well we’ve sold 18,000 season tickets, we know our atmosphere is one of the best in the country, so let’s offer 100 free tickets for every home league game. We hope the response will be fantastic.
‘We know that all Bradford City fans coming week in, week out up and down the country and all across the world, will welcome anyone that has offered their lives in service to protect others and peace throughout the world.”
Bantams boss Phil Parkinson added: “It is great for the club to be part of this idea. Our servicemen and women represent our country with great pride and they deserve any recognition they receive. We certainly look forward to welcoming them to the ground this Saturday."
73 football clubs across the UK showed support for the brave servicemen and women through the Tickets For Troops charity last season.
Other sports, such as Rugby, Cricket and Tennis, have also got involved with Tickets For Troops, while the charity also offers tickets to musical, comedy and theatre events.
HOW TO APPLY FOR TICKETS:
All tickets must be obtained via the 'Ticket For Troops' website - www.ticketsfortroops.org.uk .
No match tickets will be available from the Bantams Ticket Office at the Coral Windows Stadium. Match tickets for this Saturday's game with Peterborough United are now no longer available to Tickets For Troops members.
Any members who have booked tickets and still need to collect them ahead of kick off (3:00pm) on Saturday can do so from the 1911 Club main reception.