Coronavirus: West Ham fan Iris, 86, gets Moyes call after recovery
PUBLISHED: 07:21 25 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:33 25 April 2020
86-year-old West Ham United fan Iris Burroughs received a very unexpected surprise this week, as Hammers boss David Moyes made a personal call after hearing she had recovered from coronavirus.
Moyes reached out to the Any Old Irons member after receiving the news that the lifelong supporter had contracted, and recovered from, the respiratory disease earlier this month.
The manager was keen to see how she was getting on during these difficult times, as well as offer his best wishes and let her know that she has not only his personal support, but also that of everyone at the club.
Iris said: “The manager was very nice and phoned me because he knew I had the virus so he wanted to check on me. He was asking about me and how I was, more than anything else, and how I was coping. He said I must be strong to get over it.”
The surprises didn’t end there, as Moyes went on to offer Iris the opportunity to come along to a game, once they resume, with door-to-door service included!
Iris added: “He said ‘I have a surprise for you– when the games are up and running as normal again, I’m going to be picked up and taken to a match’. I was overwhelmed, very overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to say! It’s going to be very exciting.
“It was a wonderful gesture and I’m over the moon to think that they have thought about me so much.”
Speaking about the call, Moyes said: “Iris was saying she still gets a few headaches but is feeling okay. When you can’t go out of the house, having someone to talk to you, even if it is only 10 minutes on the phone, it can change how you feel. She was sprightly, if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t have thought there was anything wrong with her.
“She was telling me about the support she has been getting from other people at West Ham, they have been phoning her, sending her letters. Football clubs are important in their communities, especially now. You see how important they are for the community, how important they are as family clubs.
“The club has done a lot of good things behind the scenes. A lot of different departments working out what they can do supporting local projects. The East End of London is mainly West Ham supporters so we have a big responsibility, because sport plays a big part in peoples’ lives.”
This comes after a string of efforts from the club to support fans during these unprecedented times. With particular focus on the most vulnerable, the club rallied around its numerous initiatives, including the Any Old Irons group, which now has a new Facebook group created for members to keep in touch and receive help, advice and entertainment.
This has included player messages from the men’s and women’s teams, regular quizzes and bingo sessions, as well as the chance for members to participate in Q&As with players and celebrities, most notably Arthur Masuaku and Ray Winstone.
In addition, tailored workouts have been shared to keep members fit and healthy, a peer-to-peer phone call scheme has also been set up and staff have been on hand to help with any queries or concerns. Members can also relive and reminisce about classic Hammers games with their weekly watch parties.
Similarly, club aptain Mark Noble was quick to share a letter of support to every Any Old Irons member, as well as all Hammers fans over the age of 70 and local Newham residents on behalf of the lub.
Declan Rice has also shown his support by reaching out to longstanding West Ham United supporter and Any Old Irons member, John Chapman. All of these initiatives so far have resulted in the members group drastically increasing in size and further strengthening the West Ham United community during these testing times.
Any Old Irons is a programme led by the West Ham United Foundation on behalf of the club. It was created in 2015 in a bid to tackle social isolation and loneliness and is aimed at over-60s.
It provides five-week programmes designed to gives participants the opportunity to connect with other fans and locals in their community, bringing them together for fun and friendship, with meetings, events, workshops and guest speakers.
Earlier in 2020, Any Old Irons was shortlisted at London Football Awards for Community Project of the Year.
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