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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.

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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

 

 

We all know how important it is to take care of our elderly. After all, they spent their younger years doing the same for us.

That is why we are incredibly proud of Millers fan Laura Gillott and her amazing co-workers, who are continuing their tireless efforts in their key worker roles at Mickley Hall Care Home in Totley, Sheffield.

We know just how big a difference being greeted by a beaming smile from Laura and the rest of the staff can have on the residents during these difficult times, and we are very grateful to them for ensuring that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t impact our loved ones in care.

People like Laura are not just carers to our elderly. They are friends.

Finding time to watch the Millers is difficult for Laura, who often gives up her weekends for work, which we think further enforces her commitment to her job.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Laura.

 

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Laura pictured supporting the Millers at Wembley

 

 

 

 

Whilst the COVID-19 has been an undoubtedly difficult time for people of all ages, presenting each with its own challenges, we cannot forget the confusion and disruption it has caused for the younger people in our communities.

Like the rest of us, children have had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ over recent months. One in which they haven’t been able to spend time with friends, or chat with in the school playground at break.

In many cases, they have had to try and continue their education at home, with parents taking guidance from our fantastic teachers across the country.

One of those teachers, helping to try and maintain the stability and continued growth of these kids in Head of Year 9 and teacher at Winterhill Comprehensive, Lauren Johnson.

Lifelong Millers fan Lauren is a shining example of a key worker in an educational role, going above and beyond for her students.

Each week, she emails one of her year group personally, to check on both their educational progress and their own well-being, as well as sending out regular texts to parents to offer a helping hand in any way she can in these uncertain times.

The fact that Lauren's inclusion in this article has been put forward by one of those aforementioned parents says all you need to know about how big of a part she has played.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Lauren.

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Lauren Johnson

 

 

 

We are incredibly grateful to the many staff in key worker roles around the country for their invaluable contribution to society and it is thanks to their undying commitment to their professions that we have been able to get through some difficult months.

Their selflessness has been immeasurable throughout.

We think that lifelong Millers fan Jenny Cooper is a prime example of somebody putting the needs of our community ahead of her own, in her role as an occupational therapist.

Jenny has postponed her retirement to continue working throughout the outbreak of the virus and in turn, ensure that such a key service is still provided for our community.

Jenny is incredibly popular amongst her colleagues across the NHS in Sheffield and Rotherham, and we can understand why. Like her friends and everyone else in our fabulous health service, she has committed countless hours to her work over the last few months – in time that she would have been enjoying some much deserved down time in her retirement!

Described by her colleagues as “having a heart of gold” whilst coming in for high praise for her baking skills, Jenny will officially retire in mid-June.

Everyone here at Rotherham United would like to wish you the happiest and healthiest retirement when the day finally comes around.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Jenny.

 

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Jenny Cooper pictured on Wembley Way following her beloved Millers

 

 

We are of course, incredibly proud of all of our key workers for their contribution to society over recent months, but equally, we have loved seeing how creative people have been throughout these challenging times.

This is Millers fan Laura Ford, who is a nursing assistant and a season ticket holder with us as AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Alongside the fantastic work that she has been doing in her own job, Laura has come up with an innovative way to ensure that she is still able to show her club colours, by producing some special Rotherham United face masks for her and her son!

With some clever crafting, Laura has been able to turn some bedding purchased from the Red and White Shop into special Millers masks, to help keep her and her family safe when out and about in the COVID-19 outbreak.

We think they’re ace!

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Laura.

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Laura and her son pictured proudly displaying their fantastic Millers masks

 

 

Charities are of course organisations we try to support year-round, with their incredible work for a number of causes only made possible by the thousands of staff who devote so much of their lives to their respective jobs.

It has been a difficult time for many of those charities, with fundraising events either cancelled or put on hold, but they have not by any means stopped helping the many people they reach out to on a daily basis.

Milers fans and season ticket holders Dan Crampton and Mick Oldfield are just two of the prime examples of staff working for a charity who have continued their fantastic efforts throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Both are colleagues at Cloverleaf Advocacy – a charity which aims to deliver high quality and successful advocacy services which help people to control their own lives, make their own decisions and achieve their own goals, whilst taking action to challenge discrimination and disadvantage.

Dan and Mick’s work is vitally important in ensuring that people who need help and support in speaking up, have their voices heard so that they can control their own lives.

Dan is a member of the Rotherham service, while Mick works as part of the management team at the charity’s head office in Dewsbury.

They are not the only ones in their households who have made brilliant contributions throughout these difficult few months though, with Dan’s fiancée Measha and Mick’s wife Anne also remaining as ‘key workers’ throughout the lockdown.

We know how important equality is here at Rotherham United, and we too believe everyone should have a voice, so we’d like to say a big thank you to Dan, Mick and all the staff at Cloverleaf Advocacy for their efforts in helping us to achieve that.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Dan and Mick.

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Dan Crampton (left) and Mick Oldfield (right) enjoy a day with the Millers at Wembley

 

 

 

Our NHS have quite rightly been recognised for their fabulous service throughout the pandemic, with many included in this feature so far.

Next up is another ‘one of our own’ in Millers fan Lindsey Worrall who has been a friendly face to patients at Rotherham Hospital in her role as a Patient Support Assistant.

It has certainly been a huge collective effort from all those associated with our national health service, from doctors and nurses, to people like Lindsey who are on hand to reassure and help patients during their time in hospital.

Unfortunately, Lindsey and her family have had to endure a loss of their own during the pandemic after her grandad passed away in April, but we are incredibly proud of her response to the sad news because she is currently in the process of completing a 850,000 steps in three months challenge to raise money for the Alzheimers Society charity in his memory.

Lindsey follows the Millers up and down the country and is a lifelong Miller.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Lindsey.

 

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Lindsey is pictured complete with PPE prior to a shift at Rotherham Hospital

 

 

 

Unfortunately, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak some of us will have needed an ambulance or know someone who has to deal with a medical emergency.

The demand placed on our 999 responders over recent months has been has great as it has ever been, with many working countless hours around the clock to ensure our well-being.

We are incredibly proud to say that Millers supporter Adam Farr is one of the heroic people on hand to help us during deeply distressing times in his role as an Emergency Medical Technician in East Midlands and Yorkshire.

Season ticket holder Adam is one of the many brave workers who has put himself at risk on the front line, day-in-day-out, potentially exposing himself to COVID-19 in order to help save lives.

While we hope that our supporters don’t require Adam and his colleagues’ services, we think it is incredibly reassuring to know that devoted medical professionals are always on call to help us in our times of need, even during a global pandemic.

Thank you from everyone at Rotherham United, Adam.

 

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Adam pictured in uniform prior to a shift with the East Midlands and Yorkshire Ambulance service

 

 

Forever Together. Forever Proud.

 

 

If you have a story to tell us, get in touch by emailing some key information and a picture to  media@rotherhamunited.net.

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


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