A Soldiers Journey Event Raises Valuable FundsA charity dinner held at Bloomfield Road in November raised £55,000 for a number of armed forces charities.
The event, in aid of A Soldiers Journey, saw a number of unique auction items attract bids that will directly benefit serving and ex-serving personnel, as well as their families.
A Soldiers Journey was established by Sgt. Rick Clement, who suffered horrific injuries on a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan in May 2010. He has since embarked on raising funds and doing sponsored challenges for four charities - BLESMA, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families' Association, ABF The Soldier's Charity and Help for Heroes - to provide people with the same support he had.
Donations have today been handed over from A Soldiers Journey to a number of specified organisations.
"Straight from the start Karl Oyston and his wife Vicky have helped me with advice and support and planned the event in November that raised £55,000," Clement revealed.
"We're a charity that wants to help serving members of the armed forces, ex-members that have been injured and also the families of those that have lost. The four charities that I picked are kind of different sectors of all those areas.
"I asked Karl a while ago to be a an ambassador for us. Personally I believe he has helped me so much, not just in terms of who he is and the profile that Blackpool Football Club give, but in terms of being a businessman," Clement continued. "He's extremely good at giving me advice of how to run the charity. That's advice that I couldn't have got anywhere else. He's done it all because he supports what we're all about."
More than happy to offer support to A Soldiers Journey, it has been a team effort in the Oyston household.
"It's one that everyone at the club, and my wife in particular, felt a great deal of affiliation to," Blackpool Chairman Karl Oyston said. "Forces charities are always close to our hearts and the risks that people take on our behalf are always worthy of our support. We were delighted to help and hope we can help again in the future.
"Today is the result of a lot of hard work by Vicky, my wife, in organising the dinner and getting the people there, so to actually hand the money over to the charities and make a difference is a great feeling, as well as to support Rick who is an inspirational character.
"Rick is not one to give in, as his life testifies, so I think he'll go from strength to strength and keep making a difference to people's lives and to where a difference should be made."
Having now surpassed a £100,000 target since A Soldiers Journey was launched, Sgt. Rick Clement is aiming to go further.
"When I first set that target I was thinking kind of five years and that would be tremendous. To reach it in 18 months, two years is way beyond what I was expecting.
"Events are coming in all the time that are being run by local gyms. I'm planning another couple of events with the football club so if everything goes like it has been doing I'd like to see it take us five years to earn £250,000. Hopefully we can do it quicker," he added.
To learn more about A Soldiers Journey, or to donate, please click here.