Twelve months ago NHS nurse Judith Burgess was looking forward to a retirement party after 39 years’ sterling service. But when she saw the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, she put her plans on hold to risk her health helping her community in Liverpool.
Judith, her husband and daughter all contracted COVID-19. And now, as the Everton fan finally prepares to retire at the end of this month, the club decided to show her their gratitude with a surprise call from her favourite player, Seamus Coleman.
"You're a credit to yourself that you took that decision,” the Everton captain told Judith as he joined the family's weekly Zoom call.
"You could have decided for an easier life but you didn't. It was inspirational that you turned on your heels and decided to stay for another year."
"You should be proud of yourself because I can imagine it was a very challenging year," Coleman said to a shocked Judith when his face popped up on her laptop.
"For me, when it all kicked off back in March, I was walking through the woods with my daughters and when I'd see people I was paranoid myself and would take 10 steps back, and I didn't want to go to the shops."
For Judith, a season ticket-holder at Goodison Park, the past year has been her toughest yet.
"I've been in nursing 40 years this October," she explained, "and it's never been as bad as the past 12 months.
"But we've rallied, we've got through it and hardly have any patients with COVID, and we're looking forward [as a family] to getting out."
The call, which covered topics ranging from a new patio to manager Carlo Ancelotti's impact at the club, is just one of the many ways in which Everton and its charitable arm Everton in the Community, have reached out during the pandemic.
In the past 10 months alone, their Blue Family project has made almost 25,000 check-in and welfare calls, while they have recently been offering videos showing skills and exercise routines to help their supporters stay fit and healthy.