THE faces of thousands workers who have been key to Barrow’s efforts to get through the coronavirus crisis will be printed on billboards in a special tribute by Barrow Raiders.

The rugby club now has clear advertising boards outside its Craven Park ground after retaking ownership of them following the expiry of a 21-year deal.

And Raiders have taken the opportunity to pay tribute to the NHS heroes guiding the town through the pandemic.

Already, the club have been sent enough faces to cover one of the billboards, equivalent to ‘three or four hundred’ names.

Raiders chairman Steve Neale said the community-focused club wanted to show its support for the vital workers.

He said: “We had recently taken ownership of the billboards following the end of a 21-year lease.

“Our commercial staff have been furloughed so there’s no-one to sell the spaces.

“So we thought we would do something to give these key workers the recognition for all the great work they are doing.”

Each face on the billboard will fill the same space as an A5 sheet of paper, with between 300 and 400 able to fit on one of eight boards along the Hindpool Road perimeter of the ground.

The club plan to display the banner outside the ground for a few months following the end of the coronavirus, before moving it elsewhere.

Neale said the club had plans for a celebration event to salute the key workers seen on the banner.

“We hope to do something to pay tribute to these workers," he said.

“Hopefully when all this is over at our first game of the season we can give them a lap of honour so we can show our appreciation.

“We want to have a celebration or a festival.

“The banner can be kept for posterity and can be a part of Barrow’s history.”

The chairman hoped fans would be wearing Raiders training shirts that have emblazoned with the NHS logo, which are said to have proved popular with supporters.

Hundreds of the blue and pink shirts have been sold by the club.

The shirts are available in children’s and adult’s sizes priced between £20 and £23.

The first billboard on Hindpool Road already holds a special message.

The board has been emblazoned with the words ‘Raiders love FGH NHS’.

Revealing the gesture on the club’s Facebook page Raiders said: “Raiders are sending a message of love to the NHS and FGH, this prime advertising space could be for your business when this crisis is over.”