Care home staff in Hailsham take 92-year-old Crystal Palace fan on Selhurst Park trip to relive her younger days

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A Hailsham resident and lifelong Crystal Palace fan went on a trip down memory lane at her favourite team’s home ground.

The team at Care UK’s Bowes House, on Battle Road, arranged a surprise trip to a football game for resident Florence Mansfields after hearing about her years as a Crystal Palace fan.

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Florence, 92, was born in Croydon in 1926, and worked in the catering industry, including the Polegate Community Centre, most of her life.

She became a Crystal Palace fan when she met her husband, a former member of the London Home Guard, who she married after the Second World War. Together, they went to every Crystal Palace home game for decades, so Florence had made a wish to return to Selhurst Park, the team’s home ground, to relive her younger years.

The team at Bowes House contacted the club, who agreed to donate free tickets to a home game upon hearing Florence’s story – giving her access to some of the best seats in the house as she watched Crystal face their Brighton rivals. To make Florence feel like a VIP, the team also organised for her story to be included in their football programme for the day.

Home manager at Bowes House, Helena Barrow, said, “We always like to go the extra-mile for residents here at Bowes House, and make their wishes come true, no matter how small – or unusual.

“Florence speaks fondly of the time she’s spent supporting Crystal Palace with her late husband, so we were really excited to be able to make her wish of going back to a home game after so many years come true.

“Florence was thrilled when we surprised her with the tickets, and she was so excited to be back to Crystal Palace’s home ground.

“It was fantastic to see how engaged she was during the game, and we were pleased to be able to give her the opportunity to reminisce at a place that was so special to Florence and her husband.”