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Norwich City kit men supporting community during COVID-19 crisis

15 May 2020

Norwich City's first-team kit managers Pete Dye and John Howes have spoken of their pride in supporting the local community during the current coronavirus pandemic.

With the Lotus Training Centre having been almost fully-closed since the lockdown began and all players at home, Pete and John were facing the prospect of a quiet period in their working lives. 

However, they've found a way of keeping themselves busy by delivering a number of packages from the club to local surgeries, care homes and those in desperate need of support.

Speaking to canaries.co.uk, the duo talked about their immense pride in the work they've been doing and also about the support the club has given them.

"We started by delivering PPE (personal protective equipment) to hospitals and care homes as a link-up with Norwich School," said Pete. "They were making the equipment and we were delivering them. It was really, really good because a lot of the care homes in the early days [of lockdown] didn’t have the equipment they needed.

"When we turned up with the stuff, it was like we were bringing suitcases of £20 notes. They were so grateful and it was very humbling to do.

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"It started off with four/five deliveries a day and that quickly went to ten. The latest venture we’re on can be around 50/60 deliveries per day. It’s a major project that’s been taken on. We were approached by Zoe [Ward, NCFC Business and Project Director] to see if we could get involved in the COVID-19 Community Project. Delia [Smith] and Michael [Wynn-Jones] have backed it and we aim to go to every care home and every surgery in the whole of the county and also in Beccles, Lowestoft, Oulton Broad and right up to Wisbech.

"It’s been a privilege and an honour to deliver the stuff and see people’s faces light up. People are thrilled to see a Norwich badge and it shows how linked the club is to the community."

John added: "You see so many smiles on people’s faces and they say things like: 'You’ve made our day'. All we’re doing is taking a cake and a shirt but it makes people so happy.

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"We’ve had a giggle and a laugh with it all but as much as that, it does mean a lot to us as supporters and local people to be able to do this."

Distributing the parcels has been a real team effort with various departments at the club pulling together as Pete and John were keen to explain.

Pete said: "It’s well-oiled machine. Ian Thornton [CEO of the Community Sports Foundation] sources the addresses and passes them on to Jonny Martin [first-team operations manager]. I sort out all the routes and Helen rings all the people to tell them we are coming. Stuart Cox [head of catering] and the kitchen staff sort out all the cakes, so there are a lot of departments involved in it.

John continued: "We’re in a privileged position to have a job in football. So many people would love that opportunity and now we’ve got the time to give something back to the community and it really is a privilege to be able to do that."

To read the latest COVID-19 Community Project update, click here. The Community Sports Foundation is now accepting donations towards the project on a dedicated Canaries COVID-19 webpage.


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