Josie Allman, who lives at Colten Care’s Wellington Grange care home, received a surprise round of applause during a matchday lunch visit at Chichester Rugby Football Club.
She was among four residents of the home who were at the Oaklands Pavilion after a series of improvements were put in for wheelchair users.
Josie, who worked behind the bar in the late 1960s, said: “It was really interesting going back after 50 years. It’s much bigger than it was before, but it has the same atmosphere, light and happy. I remember everyone enjoying themselves just as they do there now. It’s a very sociable place to be.”
Josie added: “I had a lovely day and really enjoyed it. It’s sad to think my friendship group from 50 years ago are no longer with us, but I felt at home again.”
The visit was part of an ongoing series of contacts between the home and club who are just yards from each other across Wellington Road.
The Pavilion improvements, partly prompted by discussions with the home, include a lift, handrail and raised wooden platform on the balcony overlooking the pitch. The aim is to make it easier for wheelchair usersacross the community to come along and watch the on-field action.
Club President David Kay said: “We were really delighted to welcome Josie back to the club after all of this time. Occasions like this, and the partnership that we are developing with Colten Care, go to the centre of why Chichester Rugby Club and the Oaklands Pavillionexist, to be adding value at the centre of the Chichester community. I very much look forward to seeing Josie at future events.”
Emily Hudson, Activities Organiser at Wellington Grange, said: “We had a fantastic day and thanks to the partnership between the club and the home our residents are able to watch the rugby in safety and comfort.”
Resident John Keats said: “It’s so convenient just being able to cross the road to the rugby club. I’m sure I’ll be coming back a great deal.”
To watch a short film of the residents’ visit, please go to Colten Care’s YouTube channel – www.YouTube.com/ColtenCare.