Rangers Supporters Erskine Appeal (RSEA) has hit the back of the net after raising £1 million for Scotland’s biggest Veteran’s charity.
RSEA, the brainchild of Gers fan Tom Clark, was launched in 2007 in an effort to raise vital funds for Erskine’s specialist care of Veterans and their families.
The group have since contributed to countless projects for residents living in Erskine’s four care homes, including a Sporting Memories room, Reminiscence room, Namaste room and Bridge Activities room.
Their tireless fundraising efforts were initially born out of selling badges and a sponsored walk. But over the years, vital funds have been raised through high-flying exploits on sponsored zip slides and abseils, as well as football tournaments, golf days, Northern Soul nights and sportsman dinners.
On their way to the £1 million milestone, RSEA have also aided the crucial purchase of lifting aids and an assisted bath, refurbishment of the physiotherapy department in The Erskine Home, weekly aromatherapy sessions; the Centenary Garden and pathway, the Playlist for Life music project, weekly music therapy sessions, and most recently a hybrid vehicle.
RSEA Secretary Tom Clark said: “To reach over £1,000,000 for the Erskine Veterans has been a labour of love and I am delighted we have now passed this milestone.
“To every single person who has donated a pound or given an hour of their time, thank you. Without them, we wouldn’t exist or have achieved what we have. Massive gratitude and thanks also goes to our Honorary President, the late Harold Davis, and his wife Vi.
“Our gratitude extends to our Patrons, alongside the countless organisations who have supported the RSEA over the years, of which there would be far too many to mention individually.”
In their first year of fundraising, the group had already raised an incredible £34,000, and by 2011, the total had risen to £283,000 and were named Volunteer Fundraising Group of the Year by the Institute of Fundraising Scotland.
In 2010 Tom was contacted by Murray Roxburgh who is the Director of Grail PR. Murray offered Tom his expertise and advice in event management and fundraising, all free of charge which saw the RSEA’s profile and donations to Erskine soar.
New RSEA president, former Rangers striker, Gordon Smith said: “The RSEA are a credit to the Rangers support. The funds raised for Erskine are fantastic. Having been a patron I have seen first-hand the work that goes in to helping the ex-servicemen and women looked after by Erskine. To follow on from the legendary Harold Davis as President is a huge challenge and one, I am looking forward to.”
The RSEA has continued to fundraise throughout the pandemic due to dedicated merchandise sales, which went a long way towards making Christmas extra special for every Erskine resident when hundreds of shoeboxes were filled with gifts from Rangers fans so all 339 residents received a present sent with love.
Ian Cumming MBE, Erskine Chief Executive, said: “Raising more than a £1 million pounds for any charity takes extraordinary motivation, focus and stamina. Everyone at Erskine is enormously grateful to the Rangers Supporters Erskine Appeal for their innovation, energy and resolve in exceeding this target and their generosity over the years, has made a world of difference to the lives of Scotland’s wartime heroes.”