A Poole care home resident and life-long Cherries fan scored a goal against the captain of his beloved football team during a special event.

John, who is a resident at Elizabeth House care home in Dolberry Road, received a surprise visit from Cherries captain, Neto. John was a steward at AFC Bournemouth for 55 years before retiring from the role in July last year. He was thrilled to be reunited with Neto, and AFC Bournemouth legend, Steve ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, for a kickabout in the home’s communal living room.

The surprise experience was organised as part of an ongoing partnership with the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust. The partnership enables residents, home care clients and staff to get involved in a range of activities including weekly seated football sessions, meeting players, coffee mornings, and visits to the Vitality Stadium.

Afterwards, John said: “It was fantastic. I loved it. I have always supported the Cherries, so it was brilliant to see Neto and Steve Fletcher. I loved being able to shake their hands, and chatting to Steve Fletcher, who supported me over the years while I was a steward at the stadium.”

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John also got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to score some goals into a small pop-up goal being protected by Neto. It was a special moment for John’s family who also got to meet Neto and Fletch, including John’s grandson, Richard, who has taken over the steward role from his grandad. Richard said that he was very proud to be part of the special day, which was an experience ‘he’ll never forget.’

Reflecting on the experience, Premier League star, Neto, said: “It was a very nice afternoon and lovely to see the smiling faces of the residents. It was lovely to meet John, who did a great job of distracting me so that he could kick a goal into the net. It was so nice to be part of such a special moment for John and the other residents at the care home.”

Elizabeth House provides specialist residential, respite, and dementia care. There are a dedicated activities team on site who organise a daily programme of events to bring residents together to socialise and build friendships.

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Sarah Brunt, Activities Lead for Elizabeth House, said: “It was wonderful to see John’s face light up when Neto and Steve Fletcher walked into the room. He is a huge fan of the Cherries and so it was a real honour to make this special experience happen for him. We had a huge turnout from the residents in our care for this event which was a great way to support them to have fun while staying active.”

Elizabeth House features individual rooms for residents with a choice of communal lounges, including a large conservatory area, overlooking a landscaped garden and patio offering peace and tranquillity, as well as an onsite hairdressing salon.

Care South is the leading provider of high quality residential and home care services across the south of England. The not-for-profit organisation, which is a registered charity, has care homes in Dorset, north Devon, Somerset and West Sussex, and home care offices covering east and west Dorset, and North East Somerset and south Somerset.

For more information about the care services available, go to care-south.co.uk or call Care South on 01202 712463.