Norwich City are delighted that an auction of signed matchworn shirts from our game away at Preston North End has raised over £13,000 for the three main hospitals in the county.
The idea came from first team kit managers Pete Dye and John Howes, who in April and May 2020, visited 640 surgeries and care homes in Norfolk, and parts of Suffolk, to deliver a signed first team shirt as well as a cake from Delia’s Canary Catering.
However, at the time, the duo couldn’t get into the hospitals because of the severity of the pandemic, so instead decided to approach the EFL to see if they could incorporate the NHS logo onto our match shirts for one of our games in the 2020/21 season, then get these signed by the players before selling the shirts to raise money.
They agreed to then split this money equally between Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals; Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, and James Paget University Hospitals, in Gorleston-on-Sea. With the help of club staff, the shirts were sold on eBay and raised a staggering £13,166.19.
“I’d say it is surprising, but I think the public and the people throughout the county are very respectful of what the hospitals do and football has always got an appeal,” said Peter.
“The hospitals do a wonderful job, I think we have all seen that over the past year and we wanted to show, as a club, we really cared about them and the response we got was great. We feel that we want to use the privilege that we have got in football to help and do good things.
“As a kit department, we have got certain objectives and that is to work within the community. I know that the CSF (Norwich City FC’s Community Sports Foundation) do lots and lots stuff within the community and we are just trying to add little bits.
“I think everyone at the club is particularly proud of the amount that has been raised and we are now getting to the point where we want to do something for them every year and put something back into the community because so many people who support the club, either work at the hospitals or visit the hospitals. These people are working day in, day out under real pressure and real restraint and deliver every single day. We want to respect that and say we are going to do our bit and support you. The club is huge on that, they are very much about community.”
Speaking about their visits in April and May 2020, to the care homes and surgeries, Pete added: “We were very humbled by the amazing things we saw, the effort and the spirit.
“That is the one thing that stuck in my mind, because the care home situation was particularly bad at the stage, but the spirit and the smiles and the people that we met were great. It was so special to be part of. For us two, because we are local and we get what Norfolk is about and how special it is, we knew the people wouldn’t disappoint.
"We have got a huge fanbase as a county. Norfolk is not like other places. We are a one club county and that is why it makes our club and its work in the community unique. It is something we will never forget. I think, as a club, people stepped up and we were happy to be part of that.”