Volunteer Aaron wins National League award for work at Torquay United

Aaron Duffy with his volunteer award

Aaron Duffy with his volunteer award - Credit: Archant

Few football fans are looking forward to the return of supporters to stadia more than Aaron Duffy, who says that working at Torquay United has helped him to combat his mental health issues and restore his self confidence.

Aaron, 42, won the National League Volunteer Of The Month award last January for the way that he threw himself into a wide range of jobs around Plainmoor.

Unable to work for several years because of depression and post-traumatic problems, he had contacted the Gulls just over a year ago asking if they could give him any part-time, unpaid work.

“As a football fan, I had done some work at Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City, and it was fine, but then I went to a couple of matches at Torquay and really loved the atmosphere around the whole club,” said Plymouth-based Aaron.

“I started selling programmes at Plainmoor on match days, then signing the media and other guests in at reception and it just went from there,“ he said.

Aaron ended up helping in the Gulls’ club shop, around the ground during the week, even conducting stadium tours.

“I was basically happy to do anything, because it helped my mental health so much, helped me to become more of an outgoing person and gave me self-confidence,” said Birmingham-born Aaron, who used to work in retail and customer services.

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He admits that this year’s Covid-19 lockdowns have been especially hard for him.

“I’m really missing it, and I got quite depressed during the first long lockdown.

“But the club has been brilliant right through it,” he said.

“They’ve rung to check up and make me feel that I’m still part of the Torquay United family.

“It keeps me going, that I’m still thought of at Plainmoor, even during a long gap like this.

“I’m really looking forward to everyone being allowed back, and the team is also doing so well at the moment.”