Friday 23 November 2012
Tickets For Troops has announced that 300,000 free tickets have been distributed just days after the scheme marked its third anniversary and the ticket that marked the milestone being reached will be used to attend the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City.
Private Tom Harding of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment and a lifelong Chelsea fan was allocated the 300,000th milestone ticket for the top of the table clash at Stamford Bridge this Sunday. As part of the celebrations Pte Harding was invited by Chelsea to meet club captain John Terry at their Cobham training ground, in Surrey.
"I can’t thank Tickets For Troops and Chelsea enough for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity"
Pte Tom Harding
Terry presented Pte Harding with the 300,000th ticket for the match, which includes access for him and a guest to the Executive Lounge at Stamford Bridge.
"I can’t believe it," Pte Harding said. "I’ve been a Chelsea fan all my life but often find it difficult to attend games because of the nature of my job. I never expected in a million years that I would get to meet the captain at the training ground, let alone in the same week have the opportunity and privilege to watch Chelsea take on Manchester City from the Stamford Bridge Executive Lounge.
"I can’t thank Tickets For Troops and Chelsea enough for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Tickets For Troops does such a fantastic job in keeping spirits high amongst the all the Armed Forces and I hope they can continue to operate for many years to come."
Chelsea were a founder supporter of Tickets For Troops and have donated 50 tickets for every home fixture since the charity was set up in 2009. Terry, who is a Tickets For Troops Patron, said: "It’s an honour to have met Tom and I’m delighted to have been able to present him with the 300,000th ticket on behalf of Tickets for Troops.
"Tom and his colleagues in the forces are real heroes and I and everyone at the club have nothing but respect for the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country. It is wonderful that so many organisations have supported this incredible scheme and such a substantial number of tickets have been donated."
"I and everyone at the club have nothing but respect for the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country"
Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck is also a patron of the charity and welcomed the landmark: "Chelsea Football Club has been a proud supporter of Tickets for Troops since its formation in 2009. To have given away 300,000 tickets to members of the Armed Forces is a phenomenal achievement and underlines the great respect the Armed Services have within the entertainment and sports industries and among the general public.
"It is extremely fitting that the 300,000th ticket will go to Private Tom Harding for Chelsea’s game against Manchester City this weekend and we are honoured that as part of the initiative 50 troops enjoy the opportunity to watch Chelsea at every one of our home games. It is our privilege to host them at Stamford Bridge."
Tickets For Troops Chairman Lord Marland said: "It is constantly humbling to see the waves of organisations generously supporting Tickets For Troops and ultimately showing their appreciation to the servicemen and women who work so tirelessly to protect our freedom.
"We have seen first-hand what these tickets mean to troops and it is clear that Tickets For Troops is making a huge difference in boosting moral. It is a pleasure and an honour to be able to help reward these extraordinary, courageous and brave people for all their hard work and sacrifices."