Dreams Can Come True!
Published on 12 September 2023 12:23 PM
This is what can be achieved by Sharing Time with an older person and getting to know the person...
Karen, a Sharing Time volunteer, visits Ken, aged 85yrs. Ken has a muscle wasting disease resulting in being immobile and housebound. He was feeling especially lonely and isolated after his wife died last year. He has carers visit for practical support but struggles with being alone, grieving, and not having any outlet apart from TV, radio, and newspapers.
Karen has been visiting once a week for several months for a cup of tea and a chat. They quickly built a good friendship together, and Ken entertains Karen with all sorts of stories from his past, as well as keeping her up to date with the sporting world – and especially Cambridge United. As a huge fan of Cambridge United, Ken challenged Karen to get a signature from one of his favourite players, Dion Dublin. Karen contacted Dion’s PR company to see if they could help, and incredibly Dion sent a personal video message to Ken!
We hope you enjoy watching this video (filmed by Karen) and Ken’s reaction to receiving it as much as we did! First a quick background:
“Ken is a joy to talk to. He is very clever and relays stories of his childhood and shares lots of memories. He really enjoyed watching Glastonbury in the Summer and I feel very privileged to spend time with him.
Ken is an avid lifelong Cambridge United fan and still lives close to the stadium. He told me about the time he was at Wembley and Dion took the corner which took Cambridge United FC up to Division Three, he was so excited and animated. It was then he challenged me saying ‘you’re a woman that gets things done, I bet you can’t get me Dion’s autograph!’ I love a challenge and felt affected when Ken expressed sadness that due to hishealth conditions, he'll never be able to watch them live again. He showed me a framed photo on his wall from 20 years ago, at his retirement party when his employer and friends took him to see a game in the hospitality suite at the club. He said it was one of the best days of his life, along with Dion scoring ‘that goal’.
I contacted Dion’s agent and when I got a reply sending a personal video message from Dion, I couldn’t believe it and couldn’t wait to take my tablet to show Ken on my visit. When I showed it to him his whole face lifted and lit up. He was absolutely overjoyed. It was wonderful.
I love being a volunteer and being able to share in Ken’s memories, I would definitely recommend Sharing Time to anyone thinking of volunteering.”
Ken, a football fan’s story:
“I’ve been attending the club since I was 5 years old, me and dad would go together. The first time I ever went I won the raffle, a box of dairy milk chocolates! My father, Reg, was an electrician and he installed the first ever flood lights at the club and my cousin’s son, Ian, looks after the grounds now. He’s won trophies for best groundsman, and he keeps it lovely. Sadly, I can’t go to live games anymore, but I still listen to the game every weekend on the radio. I have followed the ups and downs, been at the grounds come rain or shine for many, many, years, Cambridge United has been part of my whole life. I now keep Karen updated each week when she visits me!
When I retired, everyone knew what a fan I was and took me to the club for my retirement party. I was sat in a box next to Manchester United midfield player Steve Copple and we had a lovely chat. I was given a club shirt with the number 65 on it - that would have to be a sub number! (laughing). I was well chuffed that day. We didn’t win, but neither did we lose – it was 1 all against Hartlepool.
I like telling Karen about my memories and especially about The U’s. I remembered going to Wembley in 1990 for the playoff and Dion scoring the winning and only goal against Chesterfield to win us promotion. It was a great day. Dion was a fabulous player and I love watching him on the TV and the programme he presents now where they do up and sell houses (Homes Under The Hammer).
I couldn’t believe it when Karen showed me the video. I didn’t know what was happening, such a shock, but I felt ecstatic! What a gentleman (Dion), to say those things to me and take time to do this for me.