Supporting the Pilgrim Bandits at the Leeds gameOn Saturday at the Leeds game, Doncaster Rovers Football Club, in conjunction with Leeds United Football Club, is supporting the official charity ‘Pilgrim Bandits’. Originally, the Pilgrim Bandits were merely a group of friends who played golf together and raised funds for a number of other charities. ‘Pilgrim’ is a nickname for members of certain Special Forces Regiments taken from Flecker’s poem “The Road To Samarkand”.
After winning a fund-raising golf tournament in The New Forest part of the country, the original team were branded as ‘bandits’ ( a golfing term referring to players who perhaps are not totally up front in indicating their golf handicap!). ‘The Pilgrim Bandits’ became a charity in its own right in 2010.
Its main objective is to provide physical and mental challenges for amputee and injured servicemen and women from the Army, Navy, RAF, Police, Ambulance and Fire Services. These groups of highly trained individuals embark upon life-enhancing, ‘no sympathy’ hardcore expeditions and adventures alongside members of the public. Whilst skydiving, mountain climbing, desert trekking or white-water rafting, they build their own confidence along with that of those who join them.
As an official charity, Pilgrim Bandits also share experiences with school-children and their schools, along with residents of established care homes. The servicemen and women share their world, and in doing so they inspire people, young and old, to believing that anything is possible.
Local hero Ben Parkinson is here today, not only to support Rovers, but to help raise awareness of ‘Pilgrim Bandits’ as a registered charity. Ben is delighted to have brought his good friend Chris Skirrow, who just happens to be a Leeds supporter, with him to today’s match. Chris also served in Afghanistan (as did Ben) and received personal injuries which were to change his life. Ben and Chris cemented a true friendship over the period of time they were both going through rehabilitation at Headley Court. Their support for their respective football teams has created much friendly ‘banter’ between them over the seasons, but their sporting rivalry can never undo the great bond of friendship and mutual admiration they have for each other, and all their fellow ex-service personnel .
Ben Parkinson MBE is a patron of ‘Pilgrim Bandits’. ‘Pilgrim Bandits’ is able to provide the care and support it does because of the hundreds of volunteer fundraisers and challengers who wish to help. If you would like to become involved in helping to raise funds for ‘Pilgrim Bandits’ contact them now and they will give all the help they can to you.
If you would like to know more about the work of ‘Pilgrim Bandits’ please go to www.pilgrimbandits.org If you would simply like to donate to the charity you can do so at www.justgiving.com/pilgrimbandits “Go as a pilgrim and seek out danger, and seek stimulation in the company of the Brave”