It's Christmas and Easter down at Sale Sharks! Well, actually it's Sale Sharks season ticket holder Martin Christmas, pictured with Sharks flanker Mark Easter.
Mark Easter and Martin Christmas have come together to promote the new Canterbury Match Buddies initiative recently announced by Canterbury, the world's most recognised rugby brand and official kit supplier to Sale Sharks and England rugby.
Canterbury Match Buddies is the pairing of disabled and non-disabled rugby supporters with a shared passion for the sport, coming together as matchday companions. The project is being launched in association with Level Playing Field and supported by Sale Sharks and Salford City Stadium. Match Buddies will be officially launched on January 26th at the Sale Sharks v Scarlets game at Salford City Stadium.
Founder Match Buddy Martin Christmas is already a season ticket holder at Sale Sharks; Martin was the first to answer the recruitment call to become a Match Buddy, responding as soon as he heard the announcement, and has undergone the required CRB checks to sign up for the project.
Martin says: "I enjoy my sport, especially rugby. This project appealed to me as sport should be accessible and enjoyable for everyone. The Match Buddies project aims to do this, it's great that it's being launched at my local club and I'm happy I can get involved."
CEO of Canterbury, Chris Stephenson is the man who pioneered this initiative for rugby. He says: "We've been amazed at the initial response from people volunteering to become Buddies. It's great to see these rugby fans 'get' what this project is all about - it's bringing like-minded fans together and hopefully enhancing their matchday experience."
Chris adds: "I'm delighted Martin has come on board as our founder Buddy, and with a name like Christmas we couldn't miss an opportunity to remind people about this wonderful initiative at this festive time!"
The Match Buddies programme is being piloted with Sale Sharks at Salford City Stadium, with plans to roll out to other clubs across the UK.
Mark Easter, Sale Sharks No 8 said: "This is a great campaign, such a simple but effective idea and I'm really pleased it's being launched with our club. We always want our fans to enjoy their matchday experience, and if this enhances it for our supporters that's all the better!"
Anyone interested in becoming a Match Buddy at Sale Sharks, or requiring further information can contact Miranda Walker on 07891658783 or email Miranda@levelplayingfield.org.uk
All Match Buddies will be required to agree to a CRB check.