Hammers welcome Blesma!

This remembrance weekend West Ham United are proud to welcome local charity Blesma to the Boleyn Ground to commemorate the brave work of its members.

Based in Chadwell Heath, Blesma exists to guarantee all serving and ex-service men and women who have lost limbs are not failed, forgotten or left to fend for themselves. They help to rebuild their members’ lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. Their programmes allow members and their families to face the challenges ahead with renewed confidence and self-belief.

Blesma works tirelessly for its members when the conflicts that have affected their lives are no longer a focal point in the nation’s media. Since 1932, they have been the only national service charity that supports limbless veterans for the duration of their lives. Their members range from the youngest amputee veterans to those who fought in WWII.

During the build-up to today’s match, you will have noticed a number of bucket collectors around the ground raising funds to help across Blesma’s work. As a charity that does not receive government funding, Blesma relies solely on the generosity of their supporters to enable them to help injured veterans, so your support today is greatly appreciated. 

Ahead of kick-off, a group of Blesma members will be invited to join in the pre-match ceremony as football unites to honour those who have suffered or died in war.

Looking further afield, Blesma is to become an associated charity of West Ham United where they will be supported across a variety of projects going forward. Not least, through the Foundation’s Learn to Coach programme. 

The Foundation will be inviting the Blesma participants to train for their 1st4 Sport qualifications. All delivery is carried out by Foundation FA Licensed Coach Educators and will be based around the philosophy of developing outstanding future leaders, dynamic coaches and effective mentors.

Foundation Chief Executive Joseph Lyons hailed the new relationship. He said: “It’s fantastic to have the members of Blesma joining us at today’s match and it’s so fitting that they be recognised on remembrance weekend. 

“The work carried out by their organisation is so essential and we’re delighted to be supporting their efforts and looking at new ways we can work together to improve the quality of life of its members.

“Our Learn to Coach programme will offer their participants opportunities to gain their coaching qualifications and to develop their journey with the West Ham United Foundation on a more long-term basis.” 

Associate Director of Fundraising for Blesma, Barbara Warner heaped praise on the Foundation for its long-term commitment to its members.

“We are delighted to have formed a new partnership with West Ham United and would like to thank everyone at West Ham for giving us this brilliant opportunity. On behalf of all our veterans who will benefit, thank you so much to all the fans for their generosity. 

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting time for our members and everyone is excited about the support we’ll be receiving from West Ham United and its Foundation going forward.”