A CARE home resident in Chichester has had his biggest wish granted.
Derek Pullen, 89, a resident at Colten Care’s Wellington Grange in Chichester, visited the home of Brighton & Hove Albion, nicknamed the Seagulls.
His wish was granted when he enjoyed a full, stadium tour of his favourite football club.
Derek first became a fan of the club at the age of 26 when he attended a game at their original Goldstone ground.
He went on to support the club through the good times and the bad and was among the record-breaking 36,747 supporters who saw Brighton lose to Fulham on Boxing Day in 1958.
The Seagulls enjoyed greatest prominence between 1979 and 1983 when they played in the First Division and reached the 1983 FA Cup Final, losing to Manchester United after a replay.
But the highlight for Derek and the club’s other fans came when Brighton made their Premier League debut in the 2017–18 season after sealing promotion from the EFL Championship.
Derek visited the club’s most recent home, the impressive American Express Community Stadium, known as the Amex.
He enjoyed a tour of the West stand, including the Amex box, the directors lounge, trophy room, and changing rooms.
And he even got to walk out onto the pitch to the sound of ‘Sussex by the Sea’, just as the players do on match days.
Emily Hudson, companionship team leader at Wellington Grange, accompanied Derek.
She said: “We love to celebrate our residents’ passions and make their wishes come true.
“So when Derek said he would love to visit the ground, we jumped at the chance to make it happen.”
Derek said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. Simply amazing.
“I didn’t expect to see so much. It’s been a truly wonderful experience.”