It was just wonderful to welcome AFC Fylde midfielder Nick Haughton into the hospice, and the team’s latest silverware!
Nick popped in to say hello to one of our patients who has become a big fan of the Coasters since seeing them play at Mill Farm last year.
Paul Radcliffe, who came to our Day Therapy Unit earlier this year and has since spent time on our In-patient Unit, was asked to choose the Man of the Match at a game he was at, and picked Nick for his performance on the field. Nick came up to thank him, and the two struck up a friendship.
Paul is actually a life-long Sheffield Wednesday fan, and until recently was a Season Ticket holder for The Owls when prevented him from going. Still enjoying live football, he started going to Mill Farm about 18 months ago.
When Paul’s family told Nick he was at the hospice, the National League player dropped everything to pay him a visit.
Paul’s wife, Wendy, said: “Nick is a really nice lad, and when he heard about Paul he interrupted his holiday to come to see him, and he brought with him the FA Trophy.
“He only told us the night before, so we kept it a surprise from Paul. It was brilliant to see his face.”
Paul was due to make the trip to Wembley last month to see the Coaster’s take on Leyton Orient in the Buildbase FA Trophy Final, but had to pull out because of his health. Instead his family held a celebration barbecue, and the team provided shirts, foam fingers and flags to decorate the garden.
Wendy added: “They’ve been so good to Paul since they met him – Nick even sent him a message on his birthday.”
Paul was diagnosed with Parkinson’s eight years ago, and 12 months ago doctors told him he had bowel cancer. He went through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and was due to have a major operation to remove the tumour in November. But the surgeons discovered the cancer had spread, and there was nothing else they could do.
His family was told to enjoy the time they had left with him.
It was Paul’s daughter, Kerry Dewhurst, who got in touch with Nick to update him on her dad’s health.
She said: “The team asked to be kept up to date with what is happening with dad, so I messaged to say he was now at Trinity. Nick replied straight away to say he wanted to come to see him, and came over from Manchester the next day.
“It’s so nice to him to have taken his own time to see dad. They had a good time in his room chatting and having banter, and as he left Nick said he’d like to come back again.”
Bethany Hushon, Commercial Manager at AFC Fylde, said: “I had the pleasure in meeting the family at AFC Fylde’s quarter final game in the FA Trophy against Barnet.
“Paul and his family share a special bond over football and we have been honoured to have them join our football family to share fond memories over the past 18 months. As Paul was unable to come to the Final, we wanted to create another special memory for him and his family.
“Thanks to our Fan Liaison Officer, Katie Patchett and Nick Haughton, we hope this will be a day they will cherish.”