21 military volunteers have now been chosen to help deliver the opening fixture of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup, set to take place on 11 November 2021.
The armed-forces volunteers will be known as “James’ Squad” and will have special roles to play at the opening fixtures on 11 November 2021, when hosts England take on Australia and Spain play Norway at the world-famous Copper Box Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
The initiative will see the 21 volunteers carrying out various roles on the day, which falls on Armistice Day. Roles include reef carriers, trophy carriers, welcoming staff, and leading out the four nations at The Copper Box Arena.
Adrian Edwards: British Army Adjutant General’s Corps
Amy Dixon: British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanics Engineers
Carl Dacres: British Army Parachute Regiment
Christopher Brown: British Army Intelligence Corps
Craig Fielding: British Army Queens Lancashire Regiment and Royal Logistics Corps
Craig Monahan: British Army The Rifles
Daniel Johnson: Royal Navy HM Submarines
Darren Penk: British Army The Rifles
Emma Thomas: British Army 1st Yorkshire Regiment, Light Aid Detachment REME
Hollie Jenkins: British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers REME
Jonathan Godzicz: British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanics Engineers
Joyce Soutar: Royal Air Force, 603 Squadron, Edinburgh
Michael Horrocks: Royal Navy Weapons Engineer
Phillip Morley-Jones: Royal Air Force RAF Supply Instructor
Rod Timmins: Royal Navy Petty Officer Electrical Engineering
Samantha Langdon: British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanics Engineers
Sean Pocock: Royal Engineers 38 Engineer Regiment, 25 Field Squadron
Steve Clibbens: Royal Air Force Assistant Air Traffic Control
Steven Mills: British Army The Lifeguards, Household Cavalry Regiment
Steve Sampher: British Army The Light Dragoons The Royal Armoured Corp
Susie Goodman-James: Royal Air Force Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service
RLWC2021 ambassador, James Simpson, who plays for England and Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair teams, helped launch the search for 21 military volunteers to play their part in the opening day next year.
James Simpson, RLWC2021 ambassador, said:
“It is a real privilege to be able to announce the military volunteers which will form part of this fantastic initiative. I have been overwhelmed by the number of applications, and I want to thank everyone for their time given and interest shown.
“With the start of the wheelchair tournament falling on Armistice Day, if feels extremely poignant for me personally, and to have 21 of my comrades from the Armed Forces coming together to make it happen, and to honour the military at London’s Copper Box Arena is going to be something extremely special.”
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive at RLWC2021, added:
“For the first time ever, the wheelchair tournament will be staged alongside the men’s and women’s tournaments, championing our objectives of being the most inclusive and accessible tournament in history.
“To be able to offer this opportunity to military personnel was something we were really determined, and excited to do. To try and give something back for the incredible work they do was near the top of our agenda, and ‘James’ Squad’ initiative has given us a chance to do that.
“We cannot wait for fans to witness the wheelchair game when it arrives in November. It is an incredible sport, both action-packed and highly skillful, and I think many people who aren’t familiar will soon be huge fans of wheelchair rugby league. To have an Arena like the Copper Box to showcase the sport is fantastic, and ‘James’ Squad’ are sure to have a day to remember, helping deliver the first fixture.”
The wheelchair tournament will be contested by eight teams over 15 days with the showpiece final taking place at the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool on Friday 26 November.