A care home made a Newcastle United super-fan’s dream come true by gifting him a surprise behind-the-scenes trip to St James’ Park. David McCarten, 74, who is living with dementia, hasn’t been able to visit his favourite team’s ground in 20 years, and has been desperate to get back.As a surprise, the care home where he lives – Eothen Homes in Wallsend – joined with charity Geniewish, and together organised a surprise tour of the ground for David.
David, who has lived at the home for just a year, got to see VIP-only areas such as the club changing rooms, but his highlight of the day was a beer in one of the club’s famous bars.
The best Christmas present
The former shipyard worker, who knew nothing of the surprise until the morning of the tour, said:
“It came completely out of the blue for me and was one of the best days of my life. I have wanted to go back to the ground for a long time, but never imagined I’d get to go where I went – seeing behind the scenes was absolutely amazing.
“My favourite player of all time is Alan Shearer, and the best bit of the whole day was having a pint in Shearer’s bar. An absolute dream come true! I want to say a big thank you to Geniewish and to Eothen Homes for making it happen. The home always goes above and beyond for the residents. It is just the best. It was the best Christmas present I could have asked for.”
Eothen Homes runs three care homes in the North East – in Whitley Bay, Wallsend and Gosforth.
Its Wallsend home is a purpose-built, dementia specialist home. It offers a home-from-home environment for those living with dementia, and employs specially-trained staff.
Manager Christine Henderson said:
“Geniewish contacted me a little while ago and asked if anyone at the home had any unfufilled wishes, and I told them we had a resident who’s obsessed with Newcastle United. They organised the tour for him and the rest is history!
“David was so excited to go beforehand, but when he came back I could see it had gone beyond his expectations. He knocked on the office door and told how much of an amazing time he had had.
“That’s what we want to do at Eothen – coming into a care home doesn’t mean life has to stop. We want people to enjoy life more than ever.”
Geniewish is a North East-based charity which grant wishes of older or disabled people, or those living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.
Cheryl Davison, from Geniewish, said:
“It was an absolute pleasure granting David’s wish, the pictures we received were fantastic and the feedback from the Care Home Manager Christine was so lovely. We just want to add a little kindness and sparkle wherever we go with Geniewish. One small act of kindness can mean so much to someone. Fulfilling a wish or a dream they’ve always had is simply magical.”
You can find out more about Eothen Homes, here or call 0191 281 9100.
More information on Geniewish can be found here.