THE KINGSHOLM Supporters Mutual (KSM) will hold a collection tomorrow night for the Matt Hampson Trust Fund - and have called upon the club's supporters to once again demonstrate their legendary generosity to support a good cause.
Volunteer members of KSM will be conducting a bucket collection both before and at half-time of the match on Friday, February 10 (7.45).
The collection will be in aid of the Matt Hampson Trust, a fund set up to raise money for Matt Hampson, a young prop forward from Leicester who is disabled as a result of a serious neck injury sustained in England Under-21 training.
The collection comes only a matter of weeks after an email appeal to raise funds to buy sets of kit for the junior teams of Steau Bucharesti (Gloucester's opponents in the European Challenge Cup).
That appeal saw an outstanding response with over £2,000 pledged in a matter of days, sufficient to buy sets of kit for all four of the club's youth sides. The response is all the more remarkable considering it coincided with a kit appeal on behalf of the Rugby Charity, SOS IRB KitAid, which also saw an excellent response.
Bob Rumble, Chairman of KSM said: "Gloucester supporters are renowned for their passionate support for the club but we are now building a growing reputation for our collective response to a number of charitable appeals.
"The camaraderie between our fans and those of other clubs would be the envy of many a sport. I think it is very fitting that we should all do our utmost to support an appeal for somebody whose life has been so adversely affected in the pursuit of this sport that we all know and love.
"I am indebted to Gloucester Rugby for allowing us to make this collection on the most appropriate of fixtures, given Leicester was Matt's club. Notwithstanding the fact that this fixture is on an international weekend, Friday night games are always well attended at Gloucester, due to the large number of people who play locally on Saturday afternoons. As a result I am optimistic of us raising a substantial sum."
Gloucester Rugby's managing director Ken Nottage added: "Throughout the Premiership, thoughts are with Matt and the courageous way he has battled his injury - it truly has been an inspiration.
"The KSM does outstanding work and I could not think of a more fitting fixture to hold a collection at than Leicester. I am sure our supporters will respond with the kindness and generosity we have come to know and respect for one of the most praiseworthy charities in any sport."
KSM has already raised more than £200 for the Matt Hampson Trust from some fund-raising at an evening at Kingsholm organised for touring All Black supporters last Autumn. An anonymous gift from a Gloucester supporter of a framed signed programme from Jason Leonard's 100th International match will also be auctioned later this year to raise funds for the trust.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees praised his side's character after their comeback win against Bristol on Saturday. The Cherry and Whites overcame a 6-0 half time deficit to eventually win the game 26-18 and secure a bonus point victory.
Looking to try a new sport? Look no further than Walking Rugby as thanks to Gloucester Rugby you can come along and try out the fast-growing sport at taster sessions across the county, starting this Wednesday.