Shut away in isolation, London Irish owner Mick Crossan would be forgiven for putting himself first.
Major heart surgery 15 months ago has left him vulnerable to infection. By his own reckoning he has to be “extra careful”.
Yet rather than dwell on his own needs he has joined son Edward in helping mobilise the club to feed those on the front line fighting the coronavirus.
Every day this week more than 800 meals are being prepared at Irish’s Hazelwood training base in Sunbury by club chef Bogdan Konecki.
They are then packed up and delivered by Exiles players and backroom staff to 14 NHS hospitals and four palliative care homes all around London.
While rugby takes a back seat, with pay cuts and furloughs the order of the day, London Irish and its main sponsor, Powerday, who are bankrolling the operation, have switched into overdrive.
Irish is a club which, by Crossan’s own admission, “is always one of those that’s going to be fighting for its life” in the choppy financial waters of professional club rugby.
For now, however, it is doing everything it can to protect the real lives of others.
“All of a sudden people everywhere are beginning to realise there’s more to life than artificial things,” Crossan continued.
“In normal times my phone doesn’t stop, but that stuff doesn’t matter when my best friend is in North Middlesex Hospital with pneumonia and coronavirus.”
The pledge is to deliver 100,000 meals to doctors, nurses and carers battling the pandemic. Even the players’ £3,000 ‘beer fund’ has gone towards the cause.
“It started with my son saying he wanted to do something to help,” Crossan explained. “Offering to pay for the food if the guys and girls at London Irish would mind helping cook and distribute it.
“He was the driving force but I told him our company would take it on and everyone has just fallen in behind the project and rolled up their sleeves.
“The players and staff at the club have been incredible, not only delivering food but collecting medical supplies for the vulnerable and the elderly.
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