Gosport Football club first to honour armed forces pledge

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BARELY two days ago the people of Gosport signed a covenant with the town’s armed forces community to recognise their hard work.

And already organisations in the town are starting to honour their pledge to back servicemen and women in any way they can.

Gosport Borough Football Club has decided to open its gates for free to any serving members of the armed forces for its match against Banbury United tonight.

It comes after Gosport Borough Council signed an armed forces covenant on behalf of its staff and residents on Sunday with the aim of helping the town’s service community.

The leader of Gosport Borough Council, Councillor Mark Hook, is also the chairman of Gosport Borough Football Club.

He said: ‘The decision was taken to allow all serving servicemen and women to come into the ground free of charge and that’s in recognition of the great work they do.

‘Gosport is a service town and has been for more than 200 years. This is just a way the football club can show its appreciation.

‘I have no doubt it will be the first of many ways we can recognise the worth of our service people in Gosport.’

There will also be a minute-long round of applause at the start of the game for all the servicemen and women present.

The game starts at 7.45pm at Privett Park, Gosport.

Servicemen and women who want to attend for free will need to show their military identification.

The armed forces covenant was signed on behalf of the council by its chief executive, Ian Lycett, and by the mayor, Cllr Richard Dickson, on behalf of residents.

The commanding officer of HMS Sultan, Commodore Mark Slawson, signed it on behalf of the navy and Lieutenant Colonel Steve Archer for the Army.

Representatives from the town’s voluntary and charity organisations also signed it.

Gosport is only the second district council in the country to sign its own pledge in support of the armed forces.

It means the council and other groups in the town will do all they can to support servicemen and women to get access to services including education and housing.