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Millwall chairman speaks on Memorial Day

Read from John Berylson...

6 February 2021

It is with sadness that I write these notes for our annual Memorial Day, where we remember all those in the Millwall family who have sadly lost their lives in the past year.

This is one of the most important days in the calendar and my thoughts, and those of everyone at the club, are with the families and friends of those who have been lost.

It is disappointing that we can’t have fans inside the stadium to join in with the minute’s applause but I’m sure you will all take a moment to pause and remember when the time comes from your homes this afternoon.

Because of the ongoing pandemic the feelings of loss and grief, whether felt personally or more generally, have been around all of us for so long now. But what is never lost is that sense of genuine profoundness associated with the story of every individual who has left us or indeed those who against all odds continue to fight on.

I was astonished by the courage, humbleness and generosity of Charlie Harris, the 84-year-old fan suffering with terminal illness who donated such a sizeable sum as part of the club’s Cancer Deadline Day fundraising efforts. It was a brilliant initiative, thought up to raise vital funds for a variety of cancer charities, and it is absolutely no surprise to anybody who properly knows or understands this club that our fans were the ones who raised more than any other. And not just by a small margin either – more than double the nearest rival.

I would like to thank and pay tribute to all those who kindly donated, especially in this moment when times are so tough, and I’m sure you will all join me in wishing Charlie all the best. Keep fighting, lionheart.

There is seemingly no limit to what Millwall fans will do to help others, regardless of what they are going through themselves. A fine example of this is Sean Ash, a fan who was suddenly left with paralysis below the waist back in August as a result of a rare condition. In true Millwall spirit, though, Sean hasn’t let that deter him and has gone on to raise – at the time of writing – over £60,000 for the London Ambulance Service by defying the odds and walking with a Zimmer frame. Inspired by the dearly departed Captain Sir Tom Moore, the very best of British, Sean completed a lap of The Den earlier this week which was a remarkable feat and a moving moment for all those privileged enough to have seen it happen.

Charlie and Sean are just two examples of Millwall supporters who won’t let their own personal struggles deter their contribution to the greater good and I couldn’t be any prouder to represent a club that is theirs. There are hundreds and possibly even thousands of others who will undertake or support other charitable efforts in the months ahead and it is these types of stories which as a club we are committed to showcasing this year and beyond.

Thank you to each and every one of you who continue to go above and beyond not just in the good name of this football club but for society generally. I don’t know where we would be without you.

John


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