West Ham United celebrate East London Head Nurse and Hammers fan as part of its #HammersHeroes series
PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 April 2020
Over the past few weeks and months, West Ham United has been overwhelmed with remarkable stories of NHS staff and other key workers making vast sacrifices to keep the country safe and operational during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
So, the Club have now decided to make these stories know, by launching an interview series in celebration of fans who put their lives on the line every day.
The first Hammers hero to be celebrated is lifelong West Ham United supporter Amanda Riley, a 28-year-old Head Nurse working on an acute medical ward in East London.
Amanda has served the NHS ever since she qualified in 2014 and is now on the front line, fighting against COVID.
When discussing how her work life has changed, she said: “The ward that I work on was the first one within the hospital to actually take the patients who were suspected [of having contracted] COVID-19. We changed our ward from being a normal assessment ward into being a COVID-19 assessment ward.
“It’s been quite difficult, but the teamwork is fantastic, the morale’s still pretty high and the support from everyone is absolutely fantastic. It keeps everybody going.”
Since qualifying, Riley has always made her football allegiances known, by wearing her trademark West Ham United lanyard, and says it’s the perfect way to provide some light relief when patients need it the most.
She said: “I’ve probably gone through about 50 or 100 lanyards!
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“I quite like it because it’s a conversation starter. When people come into hospital, obviously they’re a bit worried, but then they always notice the West Ham lanyard and it brings up conversations – it’s a bit of friendly conversation and a laugh and a joke as well.
“It’s always nice to take patients’ minds off things for a bit, just to have a bit of a conversation over something that’s not their health.”
East London born and bred, Amanda has been an avid West Ham supporter since her first game with her brother back in 2005 and is now a committed member of the official West Ham United LGBT Supporters Group, Pride of Irons.
“My earliest West Ham memory was my brother and my Mum getting me a West Ham shirt,” she recalled.
“It was a goalkeeper’s shirt… when Shaka Hislop was our goalkeeper! We used to watch West Ham on TV back in the day, and my brother said he’d take me one day. He did, a good few years later, and then it’s stuck since.
“When my brother moved abroad I met The Pride of Irons, who are like my West Ham family, we meet up before every game. They’re fantastic – we’ve been to Pride and done the marches with them, and Hammerhead came along – and West Ham gave us an open-top bus, which is fantastic.”
As for the future, Riley is looking forward to brighter times ahead, thanking everyone for taking on board government advice to stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.
“Thank you for all of our support, for listening and staying at home,” she said.
“Everybody’s supportive words of encouragement have really kept us going. It’s a scary time for everybody, but we’ve got so many fun times for everybody to look forward to together. Hopefully we’ll all appreciate what we have that little bit more when this is all done.”
Amanda’s story is the first in a series that aims to celebrate West Ham fans on the front line, and the club are keen to hear from more Hammers heroes. If you would like to share your story or know anyone who deserves to be celebrated, send stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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