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Youth Team

Academy | British Empire Medal For Voluntary Work During The Pandemic

14 February 2022

Youth Team

Academy | British Empire Medal For Voluntary Work During The Pandemic

14 February 2022

The Andrew Kelly Rochdale AFC Academy is proud to announce that Kathryn Smith, Mum of under-13s player Charlie Smith, was recently recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

Kathryn, a self-employed interior designer and maker of soft furnishings, who, along with the help of Charlie and an army of volunteers, gave up her own time during the Covid pandemic to make scrubs and wash bags for doctors and nurses across Greater Manchester and beyond. 

Having initially been asked by a friend who works for the NHS to make scubs and wash bags for them, demand on Kathryn for the items grew so much that she enlisted the help of over 500 volunteers to help to sew items together, via the Facebook group ‘Your Sewing Machine Needs You’ and word of mouth.

The scrubs and wash bags were distributed to hospitals and health centres across the area, as well as to individual nursers and doctors who got in touch with Kathryn. Locally, Kingsway Medical Centre and The Royal Oldham Hospital were amongst those to benefit from her kindness. 

Kathryn was put forward for the New Year's Honours award by the Andrew Kelly Rochdale AFC Academy and we’re pleased to say that has been recognised with a British Empire Medal. She will formally receive her medal at a ceremony to be held later this year. 

“It was a huge surprise when I found out,’ Kathryn told 

“I didn’t know about it until I received a letter out of the blue asking whether I would accept the award, and then it was New Year’s Eve when I received a letter to say that I would be on the New Year’s Honours List. I really couldn’t believe it and I still can’t - it’s a huge honour!

“At the time when we were making the scrubs, it was something that just snowballed. I couldn’t work during lockdown and it came about from someone initially asking me to make them some scrubs for work and wash bags, and it just went from there.

“It was a big team effort and I can’t thank everyone enough. There are an awful lot of people involved in cutting out the material, making the scrubs, getting them ready to be distributed and then with the actual distribution of them, so it was a massive team effort, and I'll always be extremely grateful."

Charlie has been at the club for four years, having joined the Academy and under-9s level. 

He’s very proud of his mum for what she did during the pandemic. 

“I’m very proud of her,” said Charlie, who also got involved himself.

“I helped with packing up the scrubs and then helped deliver them. It felt good to smiles on people’s faces during a sad time.”

Congratulations Kathryn and Charlie. We’re very proud of you both! Read more about their work during the pandemic HERE and HERE.

During the pandemic, staff from the Academy and the RAFC Community Trust were amongst those helping to distribute the scrubs and wash bags.

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