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.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).