Football fans from across Bristol have presented a cheque for over £300 to Help for Heroes following a fundraising campaign to repair the Rovers' Memorial Gates which were vandalised last month.

Opened in September 1921 as a home for Bristol Rugby Club, the Memorial Stadium - then known as the Memorial Ground - was dedicated to the memory of rugby union players from the city that had been killed during World War I.

And now the Memorial Stadium - home to League 1 side Bristol Rovers - is a focus for the wider Bristol community around Remembrance Sunday with services of remembrance held at the ground's Memorial Gates.

However in July, the iconic Gates were defaced by graffiti and outraged City fans clubbed together to raise over £300 to help organise the repairs. But local stone masons Hancock Masonry donated their time for free to clean the gates, so fans of both clubs decided to donate the money to charity - with Help for Heroes the obvious choice.

"I was particularly disgusted when I heard about the graffiti on the Memorial as I have family members risking their lives," said City season-ticket holder Simon Haggo, whose mother and brother are both in the forces and have recently returned from Afghanistan.

"There is a healthy rivalry between Rovers and City fans, but this goes way past rivalry, and genuine City fans were shocked and embarrassed by what happened.

"We all wanted to do something to put things right, and the support for the fund was massive. It is good that we have been able to turn a negative into a positive and support this great charity."

The Memorial gates were attacked by vandals who sprayed Bristol City graffiti tags and slogans around the entrances to the ground, an attack which was condemned across Bristol.

Dennis Payter, from the Bristol Rovers Supporter's Club handed over the cheque on Rovers' behalf and added: "It is fantastic to see such a huge act of generosity from the City fans who raised this money, and it was good to see that they were as disgusted by this act as we were.

"The people who vandalized the Memorial gates are not genuine City fans, and should be really ashamed of their actions.

"Thanks to this fundraising we are able to help support a fantastic charity, and it can only help to improve the relationship between both sets of supporters.

"We would also like to thank Hancock Masonry for donating their time for free to help clear up the graffiti and enable this donation to happen."

Help for Heroes was the Official Charity Partner of The Football League last season, and a bucket collection at the Memorial Stadium raised around £7,000.

Bryn Parry, OBE, CEO of Help for Heroes said: "It is really heart warming that following an act of vandalism, these two sets of fans came together to donate money to charity, and we at Help for Heroes would like to thank them wholeheartedly for their generosity.

"We have had some great support from The Football League, and I am glad to see these two clubs taking the initiative and carrying that on."

Gavin Megaw, Director of External Affairs at The Football League praised the clubs, saying: "Football League clubs have a longstanding close relationship with the Armed Forces up and down the country.

"We are delighted to see Bristol Rovers and Bristol City are making such a generous contribution to such a great cause."

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