Blesma, The Limbless Veterans in the spotlight with The Hammers match!
Play between West Ham United and Liverpool Football Club will kick off on Wednesday 29 January 2020 in this special Blesma awareness match. The pairing aims to raise awareness to the public about the limbless veterans' charity and the work they do in helping all serving and ex-Service men and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes, to live independent and fulfilling lives, by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support.
West Ham United has had a strong partnership with Blesma since 2016, ranging from Blesma Members visiting the teams’ training ground, a Remembrance Day ceremony and several awareness matches; the latest collaboration sees Blesma’s involvement at Wednesday’s Premier League match, thanks to the support of the West Ham United Foundation. Fans will be able to donate to the charity via bucket collectors (Blesma Bucketeers), at the London Stadium.
During half time Blesma Member Ashley Hall will be doing a Q & A on Blesma and his journey with the Charity. Ash served in the Royal Engineers for ten years. He was part of an Improvised Explosive Device search team and lost both of his legs and sustained serious injuries to his hands and arms when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in 2010.
Despite overwhelming difficulties, with specialised help and support from Blesma, Ash has found personal resilience, overcoming many obstacles both physically and mentally. With his new-found confidence, Ash has taken on many challenges, benefiting greatly from Blesma’s Activity Programme of horse riding in Arizona, cycling from Newcastle to Edinburgh and snowboarding too!
With help from Blesma, Invictus Games Silver medalist Ash has learnt to tell his story of overcoming adversity and has been sharing it with young people through Blesma’s impactful ‘Making Generation R’ programme ever since. As part of the programme, injured veterans receive training from professional West End actors to construct and present their story. The Blesma Veterans then take their stories into schools to help young people learn about resilience.
Before embarking on Making Generation R, Ash was shy and lacking in confidence. The London Stadium will be his biggest audience yet. He said: ‘Telling my story on a West End stage inspires me to share and communicate my experience.’
It is hoped that the match will raise awareness of Blesma’s vital work, and lead to an increase in support for the charity.
Notes to Editor
Hi-res images can be downloaded from the links below:
West Ham United Captain Mark Noble in Blesma T-shirt - http://blesma.org/media/440313/700027217ag00031_west_ham_u.jpg
Ashley Hall - https://blesma.org/media/445732/6k5b2752.jpg
Blesma Members visit West Ham training ground in 2017 - http://blesma.org/media/440307/twitter-2.jpg
Blesma Members visit West Ham training ground in 2018 - http://blesma.org/media/442582/img-20180308-wa0012.jpg