WEST Bromwich Albion keeper Ben Foster gave the patients and staff at Stourbridge’s Mary Stevens Hospice a welcome surprise when he popped in for a visit this week.
The Baggies and England stopper took a tour of the Hagley Road hospice alongside Mark Naylor, West Brom’s goalkeeping coach, and Andy Pountney and Andy Bullingham, chairman and vice-chairman of Stourbridge FC.
Ben took the time to meet patients in the hospice's Bradbury Day Unit, learn more about the work done by the charity and delighted staff by posing for pictures and signing autographs throughout the afternoon.
He also donated a signed shirt to the big sporting auction which will follow a charity football match organised by Mark and Matt Webb, in memory of Matt’s mom, Jane, featuring legends from both Stourbridge FC and West Bromwich Albion facing-off on Sunday, April 2, at the War Memorial Ground.
Mark said: “The hospice is a charity which Matt and I have become incredibly close to, and the work they do just blows us away every time we visit.
“To be able to take Ben along was just the icing on the cake, and the buzz of excitement and genuine pleasure that met us at every turn is something I'll never forget.
“Everyone from the patients to the staff and volunteers made us feel so, so welcome and it was difficult to leave at the end of the visit.
“It's a special place, and we can’t wait to get out on the pitch and raise more money to ensure they can continue their vital work.”
Baggies and England goalkeeper Ben Foster delighted staff by posing for pictures and signing autographs during his visit to Stourbridge’s Mary Stevens Hospice. Photos: Sarah McDowall photography
Stevan Jackson, hospice CEO, said: “Patients, volunteers and staff were delighted that we were able to welcome Baggies legends, players and coaches to the hospice this week.
“England Goalkeeper Ben Foster caused quite a stir and he and the other visitors spent much time talking to patients and staff – irrespective of their footballing affiliations.
“It was also a great pleasure for me to meet Glassboys FC Chairman Andy Pountney and his deputy Andy Bullingham who were among the visiting party.
“I would personally like to thank all of the visitors for taking the time out of their very busy schedules to come and support the hospice and for helping to make a difference to the lives of those amongst our community with progressive, incurable, life-shortening illness.”
The legends match will kick off at 2.30pm, but gates open at 1pm where the hospice will be putting on a big family fun day, including stalls, games, refreshments and a mascot race before the game.