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Dementia Care Home Turns Birthday to Matchday for Footie Fan Nigel

A Hampshire dementia care home teamed up with the Saints to enable a lifelong football fan to attend a Premier League match as a birthday surprise.
Nigel Bendell, a supporter of West Ham, joined the crowd at St Mary’s in Southampton on a ‘wish come true’ trip organised by staff at Colten Care’s Outstanding-rated Linden House in Lymington.

Nigel enjoyed a close-up view of the action, plus a beer and a burger at the stadium, as a 60th birthday gift from the home.

He was accompanied on the ‘lads’ day out’ by Healthcare Assistant Levie Bara, Domestic Assistant Kevin Elliott and Minibus Driver Martin Williams.

After watching the teams play out a 1:1 draw, wheelchair user Nigel said: “It was a good game and I really enjoyed myself. Thank you to everyone who helped with this. I really didn’t expect it. I’d love to come again and at some point go to see a match at West Ham as well.”

Levie said: “Nigel had a big smile on his face during the game, especially when West Ham scored!”

Chris Dimmick, Companionship Team Leader at Linden House, said:
“Nigel had expressed a wish to see his beloved Hammers in action and we thought the chance to see them at St Mary’s would be a lovely birthday gift from us. We knew just how much it would mean to him. It was lovely to be able to create a real quality of life experience for him.”

Chris added: “We would like to thank the Saints for working with us to make Nigel’s matchday experience possible. The help included a free ticket for Levie as Nigel’s carer on the day. The stewards at the ground were very accommodating and made the parking and access for Nigel very easy.”