Signed Banbury United Football Club jersey boosts spirits for man suffering from long Covid

The gift of a signed Banbury United Football Club jersey has lifted the spirits of a local man suffering from long Covid.

By Matt Elofson
Monday, 1st February 2021, 4:41 pm
Julie Hyde stands next to Ben Cox, as he holds the autographed Banbury United Football Club jersey which has boosted his spirits while he battles long Covid
Julie Hyde stands next to Ben Cox, as he holds the autographed Banbury United Football Club jersey which has boosted his spirits while he battles long Covid

Ben Cox, aged 37, got Covid-19 last November and spent nearly a week in hospital at Horton General for treatment. Now more than two months later he is battling long Covid.

Ben said: "I was ill for a long time with it. Now I have long Covid. It's a job to breath and its hard to get around."

Then one day last month Ben received a phone call from Ronnie Johnson, who serves as an NHS volunteer along with the club ambassador for the Banbury United Football Club (BUFC).

He added: "It felt like the world had forgot about me. Then one day Ronnie phoned..."

Ronnie, who has served as a local NHS volunteer responder since last April, had a referral to contact Julie Hyde about possible assistance.

Julie said: "I took Ben in around 10 or 11 years ago just like he was one of my own. Ben used to play disabilities football with Oxford City."

After Julie took Ben into her Banbury home he soon became an avid Banbury United Football Club fan.

Ronnie added: "At his family's request and wish I organised the shirt signing and delivery to hopefully brighten up these difficult times. We were pleased to present him with a Banbury United signed shirt by United's number 9 and club Captain Ricky Johnson during his ongoing recuperation."

Julie said Ben is very grateful for what the Banbury United Football Club have done to help him during his recovery. The new BUFC signed jersey is hung up on Ben's wall right next to his Leicester City autographed jersey.

Ben said: "I was over the moon. It made my day.

"I've never had anything like it before. They're my local team."

The pandemic has also left Julie, Ben and their entire family thankful for the NHS.

Julie, her mother, her two children and Ben all contracted Covid-19.

Julie added: "Ben got it then we all got it. My mother was in Juniper Ward at the same time as Ben with Covid.

"Nurse Harriet in Juniper Ward at the Horton General was absolutely brilliant. She sat with Ben all night.

"He calls her his angel who kept him alive. People like her really need thanking because of all the risks they're taking. The whole of the Juniper Ward were fantastic. The NHS don't get thanked enough."