Express & Star

Star comment: Jacqui Oatley's kindness to help kids football team is a lesson to us all

The kindness of Jacqui Oatley in supporting a young football team that faced an uncertain future is a lesson to us all. Her intervention in helping to acquire sponsorship has helped to prevent the closure of a team that was on the brink.

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Jacqui Oatley

The broadcaster has always cherished her roots and cares passionately about football. By teaming up with Kevin Rogers, CEO of Paycare, she has helped Bilbrook Juniors Under 14 North out of a sticky situation.

The story is a timely reminder of the enormous work being carried out by those who run teams like Bilbrook Juniors. They do it for the love of the game and are out in all weathers to give young people the opportunity to enjoy sport. Such altruism isn’t only present in football; it is visible in cricket, gymnastics, hockey and rugby. There are also a wealth if running clubs out there, which encourage people to exercise for fun. We should celebrate these volunteers as they normally go unheralded.

In the coming days, as people look to introduce fitness to their lives, following the festive blow-out, those volunteers will be running the touchline, preparing the court, managing the track. They will welcome newcomers and will provide people with the opportunity to participate in sports that improve their physical and mental wellbeing while also providing a social outlet.

Many amateur sports clubs are the backbone of our society, providing a space in which friendships can flourish and people can lead better, healthier lives.

Jacqui Oatley’s intervention shines a light on a group of people whose contribution to our wider society is frequently overlooked or taken for granted.

We have only to look around the world to realise that we pursued the correct strategy on Covid, in returning to normal as quickly as was possible.

Such nations as China, which pursued a zero-Covid policy, have proved to be on the wrong side of the debate and are now suffering terribly as they seek herd immunity.

While Covid has been normalised in the UK, that does not mean it has gone away and many people are still suffering. Today we give some advice on how to avoid Covid, flu and other seasonal illnesses. The golden rule is to keep washing hands, keep away from those who are ill and, if it makes you feel more comfortable, wear a mask. If you feel you have Covid, take a test and then stay away from loved ones who might be vulnerable. And, above all, take any flu or booster jabs that you are entitled to so as to provide protection for you and others.