EX-SAINTS’ players were on hand to help a Hampshire care home with its grand re-opening yesterday (Nov 7).
Jim Steele and Hugh Fisher, of the 1976 FA Cup-winning side, were joined by Jimmy Case, Mark Dennis and Denis Hollywood at St Cross Grange in Winchester.
The Greensleeves Homes Trust-run home was refurbished earlier this year, expanding from 29 rooms to 64 and upgrading its service to include nursing.
Manager Teri Packer said: “It’s all very exciting. We have five nurses now with different specialties such as wound care or emergency care. We really need them as we have people living with dementia who need full-time nursing.
“We’ve also been incorporating animals and children into our work with residents and we are working towards the Eden Alternative which is a Greensleeves philosophy to stop boredom, loneliness and helplessness.”
The former Saints quintet were on hand to open a new ‘memory street’ made to resemble a Winchester street to help dementia patients.
Mr Steele organised the ex-players’ visit as his partner Gill Smith works at the home as a carer.
Mr Dennis added: “This place looks fantastic. As we get older and older sometimes the feeling you get is you reach a certain age where you get put out to graze and no one looks after you, so it’s great to see the high standards of homes like this.”
The grange was a former military base during World War Two and staff invited Col Tom Hunt, who trained there in 1941, back to mark the occasion.
Col Hunt, 96, of Dorset, who was returning to the site for the first time, said: “I was here for almost a year back when I was a gunner in the Royal Artillery. It’s good to be back and is certainly bringing back a lot of memories for me.”