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READ | Thank you. Millers fans in 'key worker' roles share their stories...

6 April 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a number of changes to life as we know it, with the Government putting in place the necessary measures to help us fight the outbreak of the virus and allow us to get back to our regular way of living as soon as possible.

Throughout recent weeks people across the country have pulled together and many fantastic acts of kindness will have gone unnoticed to the masses, which will range from caring for our elderly and vulnerable to fundraising efforts for our NHS and other key workers.

Here at Rotherham United we know how amazing our fan base is.

We hear tales year-round about the fantastic work you do in our community to raise money and awareness for causes close to all of our hearts and the last few weeks have been no different.

In addition to all those generous acts for charities, we also realise that many of our supporters will be in job roles which require them to be on the front line during the outbreak of the virus and we are incredibly grateful to those people for their efforts.

We asked fans to get in touch with us, to tell us their stories on how they are involved in protecting and serving our community throughout the lockdown period.

Below are some of those we received...


Had any post through your door recently? Yep.

Our postal service and delivery drivers continue to do a fantastic job for the country throughout this outbreak, but like many businesses, there is an added demand placed on their roles at present.

Millers fan and season ticket holder Catherine Oxley is one of the ‘key workers’ continuing to ensure our post makes it to our front doors in her job with the Royal Mail.

As is the case with many businesses still operating, the outbreak has reduced the number of staff currently working, meaning Catherine has been working daily shifts from 8am-6pm as well as doing overtime to help field the additional calls coming in.

She is also still managing to find time to care for, and check on other family members throughout what we are sure is an incredibly busy and stressful time.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Catherine.

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 Catherine Oxley


We don’t need to tell you just how pivotal a role all those involved in the country’s healthcare sector are at present.

With new cases confirmed on a daily basis our wonderful doctors and nurses are working around the clock to take care of our loved ones, and as evidenced by the #ClapForCarers campaign, it is safe to say we recognise their superb efforts.

Kellie Kendall who is also a Millers season ticket holder, is currently working as a nurse with a private healthcare provider and is regularly working five or six night shifts per week, each of them for 12 hours at a time.

It doesn’t just stop there though in Kellie’s family, all of whom are regulars at Rotherham United games.

Her husband is another, like Catherine, working in the Royal Mail, while her daughter is a second year student studying midwifery.

In addition to the worries of work, Kellie’s 16-year-old son has six heart conditions and is therefore classed as ‘high risk’.

This seems like a great opportunity to remind you all to stay home unless it cannot be helped. Protect people like Kellie and her family.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Kellie.



Staying on the praise for nurses working around the clock for our NHS, the Millers-supporting Oxtoby household are another great example of our fans playing a key role during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Here at Rotherham United we are well-aware of the importance of taking care of your mental health and are in regular dialogue with our friends from the charity Mind as we look to educate supporters on the subject.

John Oxtoby is a mental health nurse within Rotherham working for the NHS.

Understandably, his job is becoming increasingly difficult as the days pass and in addition to his normal duties, now involves treating/nursing people with mental health issues who have also contracted COVID-19.

Like John, his wife is also working on the front line as a general nurse in Maltby and has kindly volunteered to help on ITU wards as they are becoming more and more stretched.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, John.

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 John Oxtoby


Debbie Somerton is another lifelong Millers supporter working countless hours for our NHS to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

Debbie works at Doncaster Hospital where she says it has been tough-going in recent weeks, but morale has stayed high as a result of the team spirit there.

She also added she’s incredibly proud to work for the NHS. Well Debbie, we’re really proud of you too!

Debbie also added she is proud to be the daughter of former Millers employee Gerry Somerton, who she is missing at the moment as a result of visits being limited in the current lockdown.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Debbie.

Debbie Somerton.jpeg

Debbie Somerton


Millers fan Jeanette Smith is currently playing her part in battling the outbreak of the virus up in the north east, where she is a District Nurse in Durham.

Jeanette is Rotherham born and bred and a regular at Millers games but with the UK in lockdown, she is uncertain as to when she will be able to see her fiancée, Mick, who still lives in the town.

Keep up the great work Jeanette, you’ll be reunited with Mick (and hopefully the Millers) soon!

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Jeanette.

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Jeanette Smith


One of the saddest implications of the COVID-19 outbreak is the way in which it affects our abilities to say our final goodbyes to loved ones, with gatherings at funerals understandably limited at present.

Unfortunately, throughout recent weeks our close friends and family members who have been suffering with illness have not suddenly become better, meaning many have passed away without us by their sides.

With others sadly becoming ill and also losing their battles as a result of COVID-19, an extra emphasis has been placed on those working to facilitate the final send-offs for our loved ones.

Derby-based Millers season ticket holder Kathy Corns is a funeral arranger continuing to work through this outbreak, providing an essential service for families going through unimaginably difficult times.

It isn’t just Kathy’s job to put a funeral in place, but to provide essential support for those people who are unfortunately requiring the services of funeral arrangers like her, which can be even more challenging in these difficult circumstances.

Kathy says that having lost her brother, David, a co-founder of the London Millers, around five years ago, she is pleased to be in a job whereby she can make feel others feel as comforted as she had been in those difficult days.

We are hoping and praying that the number of funerals you are having to arrange returns to no more than normal, sooner rather than later, Kathy, but it is reassuring to know that people like yourself are there to help us with our final goodbyes should we need you.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Kathy.

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Kathy Corns


John Burton is another member of our fanbase tackling the COVID-19 outbreak and is a long-serving member of the NHS, having worked for them in a number of stints for the past 30 years.

John recently volunteered his services to our NHS’ fight against this disease and was re-deployed from his role in the Department of Education to work on the cross Government Emergency COVID-19 Procurement Task Force, whose goal it is to source Personal Protective Equipment for the public sector from around the world.

Whilst John is effectively working in the ‘backroom’ in his current role, he is performing an essential job in ensuring that our front line staff in the NHS and elsewhere in the public sector are protected from this deadly virus.

John is a season ticket holder of a number of years, both prior to and following our move to AESSEAL New York Stadium, and like the rest of us, he is looking forward to watching the Millers and tucking into a half-time Pukka pie when it is safe to do so.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, John.


How do our supermarkets keep replenishing the stock on their shelves? How do our online orders make it from their respective locations up and down the country to our homes? 

What about the food and essential medical supplies that are being used day-to-day to treat our loved ones in hospitals around the UK?

Lifelong Millers supporter Paul Barnfield is one of the many ‘key workers’ ensuring that all of the above is able to happen and more in his role as a HGV driver for Hallam Express.

Paul’s main cargo is made up of essential medical supplies which are being used daily, hourly even, by our fantastic NHS, and of course, with COVID-19 placing extra demand on our medical services, Paul is being required to work extra hours to ensure the supply meets the need.

Season ticket holder, Paul, has been a Millers fan since 6-six-years old and recently turned 50 this year, and he insists his passion for the club is as strong as it has ever been.

He also adds it is a pleasure to be helping as much as he can in his day-to-day job during these tough times.

Well, the pleasure is all ours, we’re lucky to have you!

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Paul.

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Paul Barnfield


Schools may be physically closed as we attempt to limit social situations and stop the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn't mean that those involved in our education system have stopped providing our country's students with continued work and advice.

Millers fan Kate Owen is one of the many education professionals currently engaging in work behind the scenes to ensure the learning doesn't stop, in her role as a Student Welfare Manager.

Kate is regularly in contact with the parents and guardians of a number of students to ensure that they are able to meet their childrens' needs whilst they are away from the classrooms, as well as making trips out where necessary to check on their well-being.

We're really grateful to you for looking out for the next generation!

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Kate.

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Kate Owen


As we type this, we're in Week Four of the Government's lockdown and by this point it is incredibly clear how big an impact those 'key workers' delivering to our doors are in our fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

Luke Wassell is another lifelong Millers fan, who we are incredibly proud to say works for Royal Mail, and is one of an army of employees out at work in these difficult times, ensuring that our correspondence and orders reach our houses safely.

Luke follows the Millers religiously both home and away when his work commitments allow him to do so, and being used to travelling around as he does in his job, his mantra for away games is the further the better!

We enjoy the longer adventures too Luke!

His role delivering post mainly sees him covering the Kimberworth area, so if any of you Millers fans see him dropping post at your door, be sure to give him a wave from us!

The current circumstances are difficult for us all, but Luke has shown great strength recently, following the passing of his granddad, Michael Sharp.

We hope we don't speak out of turn when we say, you're doing him proud.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Luke.


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Luke Wassell



Unfortunately, recent events have made us conscious of death tolls in our country and at times, we are sure it has been hard for people to focus on all of the many wonderful things still going on in the world.

However, we should not forget that for many, there is the incredibly joyous experience of new life being brought into the world - something Millers fans Kerry Middleton is helping to facilitate on a day-to-day basis in her role on the front line.

Kerry is a ward clerk on Maternity at Rotherham Hospital supporting those midwives introducing new-born babies into our world.

She is another key worker bravely going into hospital every day to help ensure that expecting parents arrive and go home safely with their new family additions.

We hope plenty of those babies are Millers fans!

Kerry has supported the Millers since the age of 14 and regularly attends games home and away with her family.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Kerry.


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Kerry Middleton, pictured with her team at Rotherham Hospital



Rotherham United supporter Paul Griffiths is another member of our fanbase we are proud to say is continuing to work tirelessly for our NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Both Paul, his wife and sister work at Rotherham General Hospital – a place where many of our loved ones will have been treated over the past few weeks – and we just wanted to say a huge thank you to them all for their efforts during these difficult times.

Despite the pandemic, and like many others on the front line, Paul is bravely continuing to provide an essential service in the A&E department.

It can be easy to forget that that normal day-to-day injuries and illnesses that affect us haven’t come to a halt because of COVID-19 and it is friendly faces like Paul’s who are there to greet us with a smile despite these uncertain times.

Paul is an avid Millers fan, and like the rest of us is missing the football. However, here at the club we know that it will be thanks to people like him that we will eventually safely return to match action.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Paul.

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Paul Griffiths pictured outside Rotherham General Hospital


Forever Together. Forever Proud.



If you have a story to tell us, get in touch by emailing some key information and a picture to

We want to spread your fantastic work with our fan base.

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