When it comes to working as a team, former England, Chelsea and West Ham footballer Joe Cole knows exactly what it takes. Now on lockdown with his family, he tells HELLO! how it's with wife Carly that he shares a common goal: encouraging others to get behind a new fundraiser Heroes set up to support NHS workers. "Everything goes straight to where it is needed – and quickly. Carly has taken the lead on it. She has been on the phone the whole time. And I have been reaching out to everyone I have played with over the years. The response has been overwhelming," Joe tells us.
Of how they became involved, Carly explains, "We were sitting at home, surrounded by our comforts, isolated like other families, and desperately wanting to help. We had seen how the situation had unfolded in China and how it was spreading so quickly, and then it was upon us," says Carly who married Joe, now a BT sports pundit, in 2009.
Joe and his wife Carly are supporting new fundraiser Heroes
As soon as they heard about the fundraiser, they immediately pledged £25,000 of their own money but they wanted to do more than give financial support, so for the past two weeks the couple have been hands-on from their home in Essex, putting in calls to ask for favours and doing all they can to bring help to those on the frontline. Every day brings something new, from helping to source a bike for a nurse who'd had hers stolen at the end of a long shift, to facilitating the delivery of hundreds of nutritious meals to Guy's Hospital, cooked by Joe's chef friend Tom Sellers of restaurant Story, and even Easter eggs supplied by Selfridges after some nurses put a call out for chocolate.
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There has also been the offer of counselling sessions from an expert on Harley Street while Estee Lauder has donated 500 masks for those on the frontline. When Carly heard that nurses and doctors were suffering with sore skin after continuous use of gloves and masks, she put a call out which led to Baylis & Harding donating boxes of lotions and creams. Chelsea FC's first team has also donated to the cause.
Watching on the sidelines are the couple's children, Ruby, ten, Harrison, seven, and four-year-old Max. "Ruby is organised with her schoolwork, Harrison is not so keen, he just wants to kick a football outside, and Max is practising his letters and doing puzzles," says Carly, who with Joe is juggling support for the new initiative alongside devising fun activities for the trio. Joe believes these challenging times will be life-changing for many reasons. "When all this is over, people need to remember how we all came together and we should take stock of our lives," he says. "We mustn't forget the power in helping each other."
How you can help:
To find out how you and businesses can give support or how you can receive help, visit helpthemhelpus.co.uk or on Instagram and Twitter @helpthemhelpus_
See this week's issue of HELLO! magazine for the full interview, out now.