Watford FC Coach pays resident Des a visit

Des Hodges, a resident at Friars Mead residential care home in Kings Langley, has been a lifelong supporter of Watford Football Club, and was treated on his 95th birthday by a visit from former player and Coach Luther Blissett.

All the residents and staff at the home have been going the extra mile, completing personal challenges over the summer to fund their highly anticipated ‘after COVID party’, which will go ahead in the company of family and friends once the pandemic is over. However, Des continued his fundraising efforts well into the winter, bringing the total raised by the home, which is managed by the Abbeyfield Hertfordshire Residential Care Society, to over £1,000.

Des’ talent for painting has helped him to fundraise. Des always present new residents and members of staff with a new painting for their wall, and his artworks have been flying off the shelves since he started selling them.

Not content with the money raised by his paintings, Des has also taken up selling knitted blankets and scarves, which he has managed alongside his daughter Maureen. He has been kept extremely busy fulfilling his orders, and so popular is the campaign that word soon spread via Facebook, reaching the news feed of Laura Blissett, Luther’s partner. After placing an order for her own blanket in Watford FC colours, former England international Luther decided to surprise Des on his birthday by collecting the blanket in person.

Friars Mead Manager Karoline Gullin said, “It was a delight to see Des’ face when he realised who had come to collect the blanket. The sun was also shining to making it a wonderful morning for all!” Des’ generosity is famous at the home, and he has donated some of his blankets to Northwick Park hospital.

Fellow resident Joy, also an avid Watford fan, was equally excited by the visit, and rushed back to her room to email her family with the exciting news – “they will be so jealous!”, she said.

Luther also sent Des a message on his fundraising page: “Thank you for my wonderful blanket. What a pleasure to meet you and so many other hornets – and a BIG thank you to all the carers.”

Des himself described the visit as his “best birthday surprise ever.”

A man of many talents, Des can often be found in the home’s greenhouse growing flowers and vegetables. He has been a keen gardener all his life and has always managed to fulfil his love for it, having previously taken on gardening jobs to support his income. Des continues to fundraise for the home.

Why not buy your own scarf or blanket?! Contact Abbeyfield Friars Mead to order yours! 

Back to blog