Norwich City Football Club is delighted to welcome Jacob Bowles as our Community Hero for our fixture against Hull City.
Super fan Jacob, 24, has raised just under £1,500 for The Nest - Norwich City’s Community Sports Foundation’s new facility. He raised the money by setting up a pop up stall called ‘On the Stall City’ selling second-hand shirts, match programmes, pin badges, match-worn and signed shirts.
Speaking about why he wanted to help CSF, Jacob told canaries.co.uk: “I wanted to raise money for the Community Sports Foundation because they have helped me over the years to improve my confidence and self-esteem.
"I wanted to use my time on the stall to meet new people and talk about football to help my social skills plus raise as much money as I could for The Nest. People were very kind and donated money, programmes and shirts for us to sell. We also sold Darren Huckerby’s book, he just turned up and gave them to us and signed them too.”
Jacob is on the autistic spectrum and moved to Norfolk from Essex in 2005 with his parents Andy and Sharon. Shortly after moving to Norfolk, Jacob began to develop an interest in football and started to follow Norwich City on the radio and local press.
“Whilst Jacob was keen to attend a game at Carrow Road, he suffered from chronic anxiety, agoraphobia and was sensitive to noise so this seemed to be an impossible ambition," said his mum Sharon.
"However in 2007, Andy approached the Club to see if there was any way that Jacob could attend a game for his 13th birthday. The NCFC disability officer was very helpful and we were able to watch the Canaries beat Coventry City from behind the glass in the Ability Counts stand.
“Jacob loved the experience and wanted to attend another game but this time he wanted to sit outside in the stands! Bearing in mind his condition, Andy asked the Club whether there were any quiet areas of the ground and we then purchased tickets in the Community Stand for the next game."
The Bowles family secured home and away season tickets when the Club were in League One and haven’t missed a game since 2010 when Norwich played Tranmere Rovers away on Friday, April 2.
“Regular attendance at the games, meeting familiar faces home and away has helped Jacob grow in confidence and tackle the problems that had previously held him back,” added Sharon.
Jacob has overcome many obstacles including travelling to Germany last summer for the pre-season tour, watching the team train and play Union Berlin, Paderborn and Wolfsburg. Jacob’s love for Norwich City continues to grow and he has recently named his dog Teemu after his favourite player.
CSF Senior Fundraising and Events Manager Emma Fletcher said: “Everyone is immensely proud of Jacob and we really appreciate his support along with his parents for raising funds for The Nest. He’s a deserving Community Hero and will hopefully treasure his special moment this evening.”
Please give a big Carrow Road welcome this evening to Jacob Bowles as he brings out the match ball ahead of our game against Hull City.
Jacob and his family will be running the stall again from April 15 to 18. For more details, visit their website HERE.
At every Sky Bet Championship home match, Norwich City will invite a deserving community-minded individual(s) to be their ‘Community Hero’ and place the match ball on to a special plinth prior to kick off.
Whether the individual works in the emergency services or the armed forces, is a carer or charity champion, a super fan or a regional sporting hero, the initiative celebrates their contribution to the local community. If there is anyone you think deserves special recognition for their community efforts or personal achievements, please visit the Community Hero page HERE.