On Sunday Feb. 3rd, as Dundee FC prepared to face Greenock Morton in the Scottish Cup, Dundee FC Supporters’ Society prepared to greet the latest visitors under the Community Initiative as The FireFighters Charity visited Dens. Bruce Alexander, himself an ex Firefighter was part of the group who came to Dens, although as a season ticket holder, he was in familiar territory.
The Society caught up with Bruce, to see how the visit went. ‘The FireFighters Charity was set up to help out fire-fighters and their immediate families through times of hardship, through injury, stress or illness. The FireFighters charity is there to support them, anything we can do to make their life more bearable, and to help them carry on with life as normal. I am a big Dundee fan, and a season ticket holder, so obviously I have seen charities at half-time at Dens, so I sent Jacqui Robertson an email asking how to get involved. That was a few months ago, and she replied saying the Society would be interested in helping The FireFighters Charity with a match day charity event.’
‘Dens was a great place for us to visit, Dundee fans are a good bunch of people, a lot of great characters, and always seem willing to lend a hand. Obviously fire-fighters work within the community, and sometimes it is good for the community to give back. Fire-fighters are there when you need them, hopefully you never have to call on them, but we think it is important to help them if they are ever in trouble. I myself was an operational fire-fighter for ten and a half years, until I had to take medical retirement, The charity helped me, and help other fire-fighters, so for me it is important to put something back, and it is something I am happy to do.’
‘We got a signed shirt and ball at half-time, and we will be looking to organise a raffle through Tayside Fire and Rescue, hopefully involve Tayside Council, and maybe some of the schools we visit, so hopefully we can raise a good bit of money. Dundee FC, and the Supporters’ society helping local charities can only be good for both of them, and the charities as well.’
‘But the big thing we have to do is raise awareness, even when I was operational, I knew the charity was there, but not what the charity actually did, what services were there. Now I go round all the fire stations trying to make fire-fighters aware, that these guys are there for them. So whatever the reasom, injury, illness, emotional stress, which is quite a big thing, with some of the sights fire-fighters see, they can be quite horrific, and the charity is there to help them if they are going through hard times.’
Photo courtesy of Derek Gerrard
‘I have to say, the Dundee fans were great today, I know quite a few, being here every week, so I had a few coming up for a free pen and a bit of banter, but not just people I know, we were pretty busy handing out leaflets. I also have to say that the way the visit was handled by Jacqui and her team was very professional, everything was taken care of for us, and they are a credit to the club and Society.’
Dundee FC Supporters’ Society are proud to help out a charity which helps so many fire-fighters in times of need. The job these people do requires great skill and bravery, and anyone who helps them should be applauded. For community director Jacqui Robertson, th4e chance to help was the least we could do. ‘Helping out yet another Dundee fan to help promote work close to their heart is a pleasure. Bruce and the team of volunteers were so pleasant and thankful for the chance to talk to the fans about what they do. It's easy to forget about the needs of local firefighters when you're not directly involved so I've personally found it really interesting just how intense the support is that this group offer. We wish them all the best.’