Delia Smith sends signed Norwich City shirt to Diss care home during lockdown
Norwich City owner Delia Smith surprised residents and staff at a Diss residential home with a signed shirt to thank them for their hard work and resolve during the coronavirus pandemic.
Residents at Heywoods Grange received a surprise package on Friday, when a representative from the club arrived with a Norwich City shirt signed by midfielder and Scotland international Kenny McLean, along with a carrot cake and a personal message from Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones.
The care facility is home to 10 people with learning disabilities, a vast number of whom are City supporters, including 43-year-old Jane Sayer, who was reduced to tears by the gesture.
Alison Gillie, a support worker at Heywoods, said: “They just turned up with it – the folks here didn’t know about it, so it was a lovely surprise for them.
“Gestures like this are huge, and very overwhelming. It’s such a delight to be recognised and appreciated.
“It’s so lovely to know there are people that recognise and appreciate all the work we’re doing, because, as care workers, you can feel like you have been pushed to the back line at times.
“It has built all of us up, and the carrot cake that came with it was the best we’ve ever tasted.”
Miss Sayer, who has lived at Heywoods for two years and is a season ticket holder at Carrow Road, said: “I was really surprised. I cried I was so happy.”
The message from Smith (pictured) and Wynn-Jones, who are both joint-majority shareholders at the club, has gone up on the wall at the care home.
It read: “As the virus continues in its reach, everyone at Norwich City Football Club would like you to know that we will never take for granted your dedication and selflessness.”
The shirt was adorned with another message of encouragement, hand-written by City number 23 McLean himself.
It read: “To all at Heywood Grange, thank you for all the amazing work that you are doing, protecting us all during this pandemic.”
Miss Gillie, 49, added how, despite work proving to be especially difficult during the current pandemic, staff have managed to ensure the experience at the care home has remained relatively stable for residents.
She said: “We have a really strong team here.
“Emotionally, it has been really hard, but we’ve got such a great team here that we build each other up and we support each other through thick and thin.
“We’ve managed to keep everyone here very well protected.
“They know that there’s a virus and we’re not allowed out and people aren’t allowed to visit, but, in their everyday life, we’ve geed them along.
“We’ve had barbecues and parties, they’ve got tadpoles they’re growing and they’ve got activities every day of the week.
“We’ve really jollied them along and have kept them all on an even keel.”
More by this authorJoe Hadden