One thousand tickets for the Rams’ next home game against QPR on October 29 have been made available exclusively to communities in a region of Derby with close links to families caught up in the aftermath of the quake. Every penny raised from the sale of these tickets will be donated to the relief effort.
Priced £10 for adults and £5 for juniors aged 16 and under, the charity tickets will be available exclusively from the Madeley Centre in Madeley Street, Derby, from Thursday of this week until next Tuesday (October 25).
All proceeds will be donated by Derby County to Muslim Hands, a locally-based UK Registered Charity (No. 1105056) and a signatory to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The 7.6 magnitude earthquake - the strongest for 100 years in the region - hit in the early hours of October 8, with the epicentre close to Muzzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The effects of the quake and aftershocks were felt in many parts of South Asia, with Kashmir and Pakistan the worst hit.
Officials have said the disaster, in which at least 41,000 people died in Pakistan and 1,300 in India, was worse than the 2004 Asian tsunami because of the difficult terrain and the inhospitable climate. Four million people are affected and hundreds of thousands are in need of urgent assistance.
Muslim Hands has established a number of camps for survivors and is assisting with the burial of the dead. The charity is also providing tents, blankets, medicine, food and doctors to affected regions.
Zia Bhatti, a youth team leader employed by Derby City Council at the Madeley Centre, said: “The Pakistani and Kashmiri community in Derby has been affected by the tragedy through the loss of hundreds of relatives in the earthquake. The race is on to save the many thousands that have been made homeless.
“The Pakistani and Kashmiri community is absolutely overwhelmed with the response and generosity of the people of Derby who have been engaged in fund-raising through a wide range of activities to help the cause.
“As a community we are delighted that Derby County Football Club has joined the cause to help save lives. Derby County has always been very active in the communities through their sports development programme. This football club has always been about community and its willingness to share and join in good causes to help.”
He said the funds raised from the QPR match tickets would go to the most needy in Kashmir through Muslim Hands, an international charity working directly with affected people rather than any Government agency in Pakistan, adding: “Once again, on behalf of the Pakistani and Kashmiri community in Derby, many thanks to Derby County Football Club for their generosity. Together we will make a huge difference.”
Rams Chief Executive Jeremy Keith said: “On countless occasions Derby County has responded to calls to support important appeals for aid. On this occasion, however, we felt the need to take the lead. This club has a responsibility to the wider community and in particular here in Derby a group of people whose friends and relatives are victims of the devastation in South Asia.
“As a club we asked ourselves what we could do to help and we hope, with the support and drive of our friends at the Madeley Centre, this will turn out to be a positive and worthwhile exercise that helps the relief effort.”
The Rams’ initiative is being supported too by Normanton Sports Association, whose spokesperson Tanvir Akram said: “It is absolutely brilliant that Derby County are offering their generous support towards the Asia Earthquake appeal. The club are a leading example to other clubs in the country in terms of engaging the local community through the power of football. I believe ticket sales will be good because not only will people have the opportunity to watch Derby play, they will also be contributing to a worthy cause.”
The Madeley Centre will be open on Thursday and Friday this week and Monday and Tuesday next week from 9am to 5pm, on Saturday from 10am to 2pm and on Sunday from 10am to 12 noon.
Local people wishing to buy Derby V QPR charity match tickets must report in person and have a residential address within a mile of the Madeley Centre.
Rams fans who don’t live in this region of the city still have two other Derby County-related ways of supporting the relief effort:
· Twenty ‘Kick Racism Out Of Football’ t-shirts have been signed by Derby’s first team squad and fans have until this Friday to bid for one of the signed shirts (minimum bid £25) in a closed auction to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee.
· Fans can also bid at the same address for the club’s “Ultimate Mascot Package” for the QPR game. Not only will the mascot (who must be aged 13 or under) lead out the teams at Pride Park Stadium on October 29, he or she and three accompanying adults will also watch the game from four VIP seats in the Directors’ Box. Again, all proceeds will go the Disasters Emergency Committee and there’s a reserve price of £150. Closing date for bids for the mascot treat is 12 midnight on Tuesday October 25.