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‘My new second club’ - Son’s thanks after football fans’ gifts and support for dad during end-of-life care

Brian Parker receiving his gifts from around the country at the Laurel Lodge care home in Norwich. Photo: Black Swan Care Group

Brian Parker receiving his gifts from around the country at the Laurel Lodge care home in Norwich. Photo: Black Swan Care Group

Archant

A Norfolk man receiving end-of-life care has been sent kind messages and signed football memorabilia from around the country after a social media campaign captured people’s hearts.

Brian Parker, who is receiving the care at Laurel Lodge care home, on Ipswich Road in Norwich, had put a wish on the home’s ‘wishing tree’, which allows residents to request a special gift or experience they would like to do that year.

The former Norwich City Host - a role which gives visitors to the city directions and advice on what to see - had one dream in particular: A signed Wolverhampton Wanderers football shirt.

When the staff saw 76-year-old Mr Parker’s wish, manager Danielle Bullent took to social media - and Wolves fans answered the call, sending well-wishes, signed biographies, books and even a signed shirt.

His son Dean Parker, who lives in Norwich, said it had reconnected his dad with old friends and new faces.

Brian Parker receiving his gifts from around the country at the Laurel Lodge care home in Norwich. Photo: Black Swan Care GroupBrian Parker receiving his gifts from around the country at the Laurel Lodge care home in Norwich. Photo: Black Swan Care Group

“Given the current situation he’s had no contact with people he would normally see around the city,” he said. “It’s been nice for him to get contact with previous colleagues.

“He’s a person who has never had a lot of stuff, he’s made relationships but he’s not materialistic. He was quite teary and it was lovely to see.

“We only have a short amount of time left with him, and I have taken comfort and memories from it all.”

He said his dad - who also had a soft spot for the Canaries - has lived in Norfolk most of his life.

And he said while he is a Norwich City fan, the outpouring of support from Wolves for his dad ensured they would become his second club.

In a video on Twitter, the 76-year-old said he was “ever so grateful” for the kindness, adding that he started following Wolves in 1958, when Billy Wright visited his school in East Dereham.

The home, part of the Black Swan Care Group, said it was “absolutely overwhelmed” with the response, and said the generosity, compassion and love shown was “heartwarming”.

The donations included a signed shirt from last season from Lewis Taylor, of Energy Angels in Wolverhampton, and signed player biographies and other books from Jason Guy, of the Wolf Whistle podcast.

And Mr Parker has one more treat on the way - a phone call with the daughter of Mr Wright, one of his favourite players.


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