Essex

Southend United's Ben Coker visits 97-year-old fan

Ben Coker, Vic Vichers and Margaret Brodie Image copyright Margaret Brodie
Image caption Ben Coker (left) Vic Vichers (centre) and Margaret Brodie met as part of the care home's "Wish Come True" campaign

A footballer has helped to make one fan's dream come true by visiting him in his care home to thank him for 89 years of club loyalty.

Arthur "Vic" Vichers, aged 97, has been supporting Southend United since he was eight years old.

He is believed to be the League One club's longest surviving supporter and lives at a care home in Colchester.

Defender Ben Coker was invited to the home and said he "couldn't do enough for Vic."

Margaret Brodie, the home's activity organiser, said she called the club when she noticed Mr Vichers' eyes light up every time he talked about the football team.

Foxburrow Grange care home runs a "Wish Come True" campaign and Ms Brodie said she tries to find out what residents' wishes might be and arranges activities to help them recall their most passionate memories.

Ms Brodie said the exchange between the two men on Monday was wonderful.

She said: "He (Ben Coker) replied almost the same day to my request and couldn't do enough for Vic."

Image copyright Steve Daniels/Geograph
Image caption Southend United's home at Roots Hall in 1980

Mr Vichers has supported Southend since his father took him to his first game against Colchester United at Roots Hall stadium.

Talking about his visit, he said: "It brought back memories which I'd long forgotten, seemed like yesterday".

The defender spent an hour laughing and joking with him.

Coker said: "It was brilliant to meet him, nice to get asked and nice to sit down and have a good chat. He was buzzing.

"He was reeling off some names I hadn't heard of. It was brilliant to hear his stories as everything was coming back to him."

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