AN UNDER NINE’S football team is celebrating NHS workers after their coach was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Hangleton Rangers youth football team manager Malcolm Stringer suggested his team showed their support for the healthcare workers during lockdown, only to later be struck by coronavirus himself.

Craig Walden, 56, whose son Charlie is a member of the squad, said: “The team send all their best wishes to Malcolm and his family and look forward to returning to training and playing when things return to normal”

Malcolm, who has been involved in youth football for several years, had suggested the idea of a poster before being diagnosed with the virus.

Fellow coaches then organised it with parents over WhatsApp messenger, with each player holding up a word to make up a message for NHS “heroes”.

The Argus:

The poster reads: “Please stay home. Save lives. Protect our NHS. Thank you. Hangleton Rangers Under Nine’s”

Mr Walden said: “We can’t say enough about them, they are absolute heroes of our time, putting themselves on the line to protect other people.

“It’s not just the frontline, but the support staff and people enabling them to do their jobs.”

The manager is currently recovering at home and players, parents and other coaches are wishing him a speedy recovery.

Mr Walden said: “Everyone’s been checking in with him – one of the other coaches also had symptoms.

“It feels quite close to home when people you see every week are getting it.”

The Argus:

Hangleton Rangers’ last game was played shortly before the lockdown, but the team spirit has been kept alive and well.

The players are meeting on a virtual basis each week for bingo and quizzes which are, of course, football related.

Mr Walden said: “Even though Malcolm has been unwell, he has been organising the quizzes on Zoom – it’s a great way to get the team feeling like a team.

“When he is not feeling too well, this has been taken over by other people.”

The Clap for Carers campaign, which started online, was staged because “during these unprecedented times they need to know we are grateful”.

People all over Sussex go to their doorsteps and windows to take part in the round of applause.

The Queen said the country was “enormously thankful” to the people on the frontline of the UK’s response to Covid-19.

She said the UK was grateful “for the expertise and commitment of our medical practitioners and public services”.

• The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit