London Fire Brigade FC have launched the latest iteration of their charity shirt that features the names of every firefighter to have lost their life on duty since 1945, as well as the 72 Grenfell victims.
The 72 names are a fresh addition to the kit, a move which builds on a long-standing connection between the LFBFC and Grenfell Athletic who hold an annual charity fixture.
The kit, which will be sold to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity, was borne out LFBFC club manager John Chinnery’s visit to the National Firefighters Memorial.
Chinnery, who is a full-time firefighter, said: “I was on a training course up at our fire service college in Moreton and I managed to source the names from 1945 to present.
“I wanted to change the shirt; we have a very good connection with Grenfell Athletic.”
The previous version of the shirt raised £1,300 for The Fire Fighters Charity, and Chinnery is hopeful that this year’s effort will be similarly successful.
Aside from the 72 Grenfell victims’ names, there is also a further addition to this year’s shirt.
Chinnery said: “There’s a last, recent name I never thought I’d have to add: the Scottish firefighter who died last year, Barry Martin.”
Martin, who was 38, died in January after being critically injured fighting a department store fire in Edinburgh.
Next year is also the 20th anniversary of the death of the last two London firefighters to die on duty, Billy Faust and Adam Meere, and some of the families of those with names on the shirt have reached out to purchase one.
The club plays a variety of fixtures, particularly against other service teams, with Chinnery’s footballing connections from his time as Corinthian-Casuals FC reserves manager helpful in sourcing grounds.
Connecting with the community is at the heart of the club’s ethos, and he is also keen to emphasise how central this is to their approach.
Chinnery said: “It’s breaking the stigma for a lot of young people that the emergency services are just there to save you.
“It’s not actually what we like to do; we get involved and help communities.”
Next month, they play another charity fixture against Hackney Wick FC to support a bleed box campaign to try and mitigate against the effects of knife crime.
You can purchase a shirt by emailing [email protected].
Feature image credit: Chris Carpenter Photography / @chri5_photo