Gary Lineker calls Red Cross volunteer to talk health and sport

Gary Lineker calls Red Cross volunteer

Gary Lineker delighted Red Cross volunteer and sports fan Charlie Bath, when he called her out of the blue last week.

The BBC Match of the Day presenter called to find out more about the recently launched British Red Cross coronavirus support line.

Bath, 34, whose father was a goalkeeper for Sheffield Wednesday in the 70s, volunteers on the free phone line from her home in Wiltshire.

Bath was a self-employed personal trainer and sports massage therapist before the coronavirus crisis hit.

Gary Lineker zooms Red Cross volunteer
Zoom call: Gary Lineker chats with Red Cross volunteer Charlie Bath.

Now she spends four hours of her day taking calls from people who are staying home and finding it difficult to access food and medication, or feeling lonely or worried, during these uncertain times.

Gary Lineker 

Lineker, who recently donated two months’ salary to the charity, said: “This crisis is not just about people being ill, but the way it has affected their lives.

“Many people are struggling during lockdown and the Red Cross helpline clearly offers support for those who may not be receiving help from anywhere else.

“It is comforting to hear first-hand from a volunteer on the frontline responding to this horrible virus.”

During the video call, she told Lineker that many people call the Red Cross asking for assistance with getting food or medicine, but you soon realise that what they also need is to talk.

“There is something quite magical when you can have that connection, when someone has managed to offload and you can hear the change of tone in their voice go from worry and anxiety to realising someone cares and will do their best to help,” she said.

Bath and her fellow volunteers are from a specialist Red Cross team and have supported people following crises such as terror attacks and tragedies, such as the Grenfell Tower fire.

Red Cross supporting communities

They are now offering support and helping to connect callers with the best local support in their area.

She said she has received all kinds of calls, from a young man struggling to recover from the virus after returning home from hospital, to a recently bereaved elderly woman who had absolutely no support network.

Lineker told Bath that, as he’s single and lives alone, life for him hasn’t changed much under lockdown: “I just don’t go anywhere!”

The TV presenter also explained – like many of us – that he’s keeping busy by working from home, working out and challenging himself to cook vegan meals – although admitting he may have had a few meaty moments of weakness.

Bath also asked Lineker a question of her own: what does he think should happen if the Premier League season doesn’t finish?

“Give it to Everton!” he joked.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the free British Red Cross coronavirus support line on 0808 196 3651 to speak to a friendly Red Cross volunteer.