By Alan Myers
On Saturday I met three of my heroes, Duncan Ferguson was and remains an Everton icon for me and many Blues fans, I also met and interviewed a footballer who epitomises everything good about the world game in the considerable Lothar Matthaus but it was the third of this trio who I hold the most valued opinion of, the person who makes me look at and question myself every time I meet her.
Carena Duffy, Everton in the Community’s Fundraising Manager, is without doubt one of the most tenacious, unselfish, caring and inspirational people I know and those qualities have supported, encouraged and benefited so many for so long.
The title “Unsung Hero” isn’t quite accurate in fairness because anyone that comes into contact with Carena leaves her company singing her praises such is the effect she has on them. However, it’s the unselfish nature of her personality, the beauty of her soul and the kindness in her heart which represents the club she loves so positively.
Indeed she has won many plaudits for her work, awarded the Social Impact Award for Fundraiser of the Year, recognised as the Barclays Spirt of the Game, and has been shortlisted for many National and local awards including the Liverpool and Sefton Chamber Awards – Local Hero Award
The enthusiastic Carena has climbed Kilamanjaro, spent time volunteering in villages in Tanzania and a school in Kenya and even jumped out of a aeroplane at 14,000ft! All to raise vital funds for people that need it so much.
Carena has personally raised over £400,000 via her own fundraising efforts and Over the past 9 years, has helped raise hundreds of thousands for the EITC charity!
Her energy is both unwavering and at the same time infectious but it is her day to day positive approach towards her work which stands out as an incredible testament to the good which happens daily within EITC.
To meet Carena is to understand the meaning of humility, never once does she take credit for what she does, always pointing nervously towards someone else in the team to avoid the, in her eyes, awful thought of self publicising. Nevertheless her enthusiasm is no less energetic, no less committed and no less joyful to witness today than it was all those years ago when I sat in the stands at Goodison on a quiet Tuesday afternoon when she desperately wanted to tell me, or anyone who’d listen, all about a recent trip to Africa!
Carena does so much to make a difference, so much to help others and so much for her Club and City and, as with a lot of Clubs, is one of those people within the game who do it without the glory or reward of their more worshipped colleagues that play the game.
So hero’s aren’t always 6ft 4in goal-scorers, they’re not always World Cup legends but they are also passionate, hardworking and giving souls like Carena Duffy, who contribute in no small way to making Football such an important part of all corners of society
I say thank you Carena, keep making people happy!
Carena is running the London Marathon in April and you can support her by going to her Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carena-duffy4