LEIGH Centurions have officially backed those on the front line by signing the council’s armed forces covenant.
The club pledged its support and recognised the contributions of serving personnel, veterans and military families at the Super 8s clash at Leigh Sports Village (LSV) against the Sheffield Eagles.
The Armed Forces Corporate Covenant was signed in partnership with Wigan Council and Leigh Community Trust, with veterans including World War Two veteran and club legend Tommy Sale MBE and 97-year-old former prisoner of war Tom Boardman in attendance at the game.
Upcoming projects as part of the covenant include joining the Ticket for Troops scheme to give veterans and military personnel free tickets, support for cadet forces doing bucket collections at games and getting military organisations involved on matchdays.
Alan Rowley, Leigh Centurions operations director, said: “Leigh Centurions are proud to officially recognise the important contribution to our community that members of the armed forces and their families make.
“The covenant helps formalise that relationship and officially recognises armed forces personnel both serving and veterans as part of the wider Leigh Centurions family.”
Hannah Forbes, general manager of Leigh Community Trust, said: “There are thousands of people in Leigh and the surrounding area who have a direct connection with the armed forces.
“We know that veterans can feel cut off and socially excluded for a variety of reasons.
“Through signing the covenant the Leigh Centurions are making a powerful statement of support for all military personnel in our communities.”
The occasion was particularly special for Mr Boardman as his father Ernie was a member of the Leigh team which won the 1921 Challenge Cup final, beating Halifax 13-0.
Wigan Council was represented at the game by leader Lord Peter Smith and Mayor of Wigan Coun Susan Loudon, who are both Centurions supporters.
Lord Smith said: “We are very pleased that Leigh Centurions have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant.
“The club is a leading organisation in the Leigh community and their support will be hugely appreciated by the military personnel and their families who live in the area.
“Organisations and businesses can only benefit from harnessing the support of the armed forces community.”
The Centurions are the second sports club to sign up to the armed forces covenant, with Wigan Athletic having already pledged support. Wigan and Leigh College has also signed the covenant.
Wigan Council is currently developing a ground-breaking £500,000 armed forces family centre, which will give specialist support to the 22,000 veterans and their families currently living in the borough along with reservists and personnel.
Businesses and organisations interested in supporting the armed forces can sign up to the covenant by emailing Linda.Fisher@wigan.gov.uk