As part of West Ham United’s ongoing pledge of support to local NHS trusts across east London and Essex, the Club invited members of staff from the Barts Health NHS Trust and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) to the final game of the 2020/21 season against Southampton, to act as flagbearers.
With Government guidelines allowing 10,000 supporters at London Stadium, Laura Zarb, Tracey Knight, Kevin Gee, Maria Pitt, Trevor Tull and Alan Phipps acted as flagbearers, as they joined the rest of the West Ham family in celebrating the Club’s sixth-place finish and qualification for European football. The six NHS key workers and their fantastic colleagues were also thanked by David Moyes himself, in his post-match address, for their continued hard work throughout the pandemic.
Laura Zarb, who works at The Royal London Hospital, said: “Thank you to West Ham United for providing the tickets to yesterday’s game and for allowing us to be flag bearers before the match. It was my first time at a professional football game and the atmosphere in the stadium was amazing and it was a memorable experience I got to share with my eldest son - Thank you, I am very grateful!”
In addition to hosting the key workers and their friends and family at the last fixture of the campaign, the Club has continued to support the local NHS Trusts throughout the pandemic. Providing them with whatever they may need, including shirts, signed framed prints, player calls to patients and doctors, webinars, as well as support for their vital campaigns – this coming after research from EY found the Club’s work helped deliver £1.4m of annual savings to the NHS through diabetes prevention, including via their award-winning ‘150 Club’ as part of the Club’s innovative Players’ Project.
West Ham United has also recently joined forces with a London healthcare charity to launch a campaign in support of the NHS. Hammers captain Mark Noble is one of the prominent faces of the campaign and will be appearing on giant advertising billboards, bus shelters, and double decker buses as they drive across London. The campaign will run until September, and will also feature a wide range of hospital staff and patients. As well as on billboards and buses, the campaign will appear on Tube ticket gates and bus shelters across East London.
Fiona Miller Smith, Barts Charity Chief Executive, said: “After such a tough year for both East London and our local NHS, it meant so much to see our hospital staff waving the flags before Sunday’s game - and for them to see the Hammers end the season on such a high. West Ham have been such fantastic partners for us throughout the pandemic. Having the Club support our #WearTheBadge campaign - and having Mark Noble front it - has been brilliant. As a charity proud to be focused on East London, to have our biggest local team right behind us means an awful lot.”