Forces veterans enlisted to help with Sunderland Fans Museum project

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the  Fans Museum.  From left Project Lead Ger Fowler, Will Gooding, Chris Batty and Fan Museum's Michael Ganley
Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the Fans Museum. From left Project Lead Ger Fowler, Will Gooding, Chris Batty and Fan Museum's Michael Ganley

Veterans are pitching in to help with the SAFC Fans Museum project as it gets its new home ready.

The popular exhibition was given the keys to Monkwearmouth Station Museum by council bosses at the end of last year, its first permanent base.

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the  Fans Museum. Project Lead Ger Fowler with Fan Museum's Michael Ganley

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the Fans Museum. Project Lead Ger Fowler with Fan Museum's Michael Ganley

Founder Michael Ganley had been putting his extensive collection of football memorabilia at various venues around Wearside.

Much work is needed to be done at the North Bridge Street Museum before it can re-opened with its new sporting theme this summer.

But more help is now being provided after the Sunderland Veterans in Crisis organisation came forward to offer assistance.

“Ger Fowler from the group mentioned that his wife had done a collage tribute to Jimmy Montgomery, and I told him I was happy to house it in the museum when we got a permanent base,” said Michael.

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the  Fans Museum. Chris Batty

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the Fans Museum. Chris Batty

“We’ve kept in touch since then and a couple of lads who we’ve had helping who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stree disorder).

“Ger said that a few people who he knows would like to come in and they have been brilliant.

“They have worked their socks off and been good as gold.

“I can’t thank them enough and hopefully that will continue.”

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the  Fans Museum. Will Goodings

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the Fans Museum. Will Goodings

Among the work being done by the veterans includes painting and sanding down.

Match-worn shirts, medals and even the boardroom table and chairs from Sunderland’s former Roker Park home are all part of the exhibition, which has been put on at The Bridges, Hendon Library and the City Library building at various times since 2014.

Michael added: “This latest link-up shows we are not just a football museum.

“We are a long-term community project which benefits all types of people.

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the  Fans Museum. Project Lead Ger Fowler

Former servicemen from the Veterans in Crisis group are helping with work at the Fans Museum. Project Lead Ger Fowler

“If any other ex-servicemen or women who are in a similar position would like to get in touch, they are more than welcome to come along, have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee and we’ll see if they can get involved.”

Anyone who thinks they can provide help with work at the Fans Museum project should call Michael on 07801393935 or email him at michael@safc-museum.co.uk.