VETERANS of the battlefield and the rugby field will once again come together in an annual match to raise money for charity.

Building on the success of last year’s event, former Melksham soldiers who have served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan will take on a ‘veterans’ team from Melksham RFC and beyond.

The match kicks off at 6pm at the Oakfields Stadium on Friday, November 8 in advance of the Remembrance Day weekend and will raise funds for the local Royal British Legion.

The event features the Melksham RFC mini’s tournament, followed by a brief ceremonial event and the ‘veterans’ game thereafter, with a bar, food, raffle and live music.

Chris Chudleigh, Melksham RFC’s head coach said: “As a serving soldier, having been in the army for many years, this event is extremely close to my heart.”

“It’s great to see the whole community getting involved, with live music and other people giving their time and donating prizes and money to the Royal British Legion.”

Chris has been on the staff at Sale Sharks, as well as coaching teams as far afield as the USA, Spain and Latvia, and he was the head coach on the TV show ‘School of hard Knocks’, working with Scott Quinnell and Will Greenwood.

Trevor Paterson, RBL Melksham branch president and Poppy Appeal organiser, said: "With the Poppy Appeal coming into full swing, this event encapsulates the principals of the Legion perfectly.

“After the success of last year's event, we’re looking forward to this year’s game immensely. We will be there to watch the match and will be holding a collection before, during and after the games.”

Andy Thompson, honorary secretary for Melksham RFC, said: “Since last year's event we have even more players looking to get involved with playing or supporting the game.

"It’s great to see the match gaining momentum and building on the success of last year.”

The bar opens at 6pm, with live music from 7.30pm. A collection will be held throughout the night, with further funds being raised from the food sales and the raffle, including prizes such as signed rugby shirts and meals at local pubs and restaurants.

Raffle tickets are available from the rugby club, the Water Meadow and The Foresters Arms, but event organisers are keen to receive more raffle prizes and venues to distribute tickets.

Call Matt Sidnell on 07876 570 569 for information or to donate raffle prizes.

The weekend of remembrance concludes with the annual parade, forming up at Kingsbury Square on Sunday, November 10 at 10.30am before marching to the memorial at Canon Square and then the service at St Michael’s Church.

The RBL supports serving and retired servicemen and woman and their families. Visit

Melksham RFC are an official RFU-supported community rugby club, and are looking for new players for all teams, from U10s to the 1st XV. Visit or call 07926 929 858.