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Care Home Resident’s Pilgrimage To See His Beloved ‘Seagulls’

When Chichester care home resident Derek Pullen was asked to reveal his deepest desire he wished for ‘Seagulls’.

That wish was granted when he enjoyed a full, stadium tour of his favourite football club – Brighton & Hove Albion.

Derek, 89, first became a fan of the club nicknamed the Seagulls at the age of 26 when he attended a game at their original Goldstone ground.

He went on to support the club through the good times and the bad and was amongst the record breaking 36,747 supporters who saw Brighton lose to Fulham on Boxing Day 1958.

The Seagulls enjoyed greatest prominence between 1979 and 1983 when they played in the First Division and reached the 1983 FA Cup Final, sadly losing to Manchester United after a replay.

But the highlight for Derek and the club’s other fans came when Brighton made their Premier League debut in the 2017–18 season after sealing promotion from the EFL Championship.

Derek visited the club’s most recent home, the impressive American  Express Community Stadium, known as the Amex.

He enjoyed a tour of the West stand, including the AMEX box, the Directors Lounge, Trophy room, and changing rooms.  And he even got to walk out onto the pitch to the sound of ‘Sussex by the Sea’, just as the players do on match days.

Emily Hudson, Companionship Team Leader at Wellington Grange, accompanied Derek.

She said: “We love to celebrate our residents’ passions and make their wishes come true, so when Derek said he would love to visit the ground we jumped at the chance to make it happen.”

Derek said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. Simply amazing.

“I didn’t expect to see so much. It’s been a truly wonderful experience.”

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