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 the local media this week, back row flanker Jacob Rowan said that he is excited for the challenge at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, and added that the players know the responsibility is theirs to deliver against the league leaders.
Ben Morgan was on media duty this week, and as Gloucester prepare for Sunday's trip to Wasps, the number eight is looking forward to see Gloucester go toe-to-toe with another of the Aviva Premiership's front runners.
Tom Marshall scored his first Gloucester try in the 31-23 win over Saracens on Friday evening and was named Man of the Match. Talking to GRTV, he praised the forwards for setting the tone on the night.
Matt Scott was on media duty this week, and the Scottish international spoke about the benefit of having a full week of training with his club mates and the determination to get back to performing well against Saracens this Friday evening.
Last Friday night saw Gloucester Rugby Head of Community Adam Balding present a cheque for £7082.82 to the Royal British Legion as a result of a series of fundraising during the Remembrance Period in November.
Gloucester battled bravely against Wasps on Sunday, but it was a case of taking chances at the Ricoh Arena. Gloucester didn't make the most of theirs while Wasps did, and that proved to be the difference.
Gloucester were competitive for long periods at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday afternoon, but were left to rue a host of missed scoring opportunities throughout as Wasps hit back to earn a 35-22 Aviva Premiership win.
Gloucester's Ciaran Knight made his first start at tighthead prop, Henry Walker made his first appearance as a second half replacement and Alex Seville also featured as England U20s might it three from three in the U20s Six Nations with a 46-0 win over Italy in Darlington on Friday night.