Footballing icon Harry Redknapp has paid a surprise visit to a fan with terminal cancer, thanks to quick thinking care home staff.
After spotting Harry while driving through Bournemouth, the care home’s manager asked him to meet with life-long West Ham fan, Frank McHale.
The 57-year-old has been living at Bupa’s Queensmount care home since May, following a terminal diagnosis of lung sarcoma – a rare type of cancer.
Claudia Carvell, manager at the care home, explains: “Whether they’re with us for weeks or years, our job is to make residents smile.
“Frank is a huge West Ham fan so, when I saw Harry in town, I knew I had to ask him to visit. He must have thought I was crazy as I ran down the street to catch him, but I hadn’t even finished explaining before he agreed.
“Harry was wonderful and the visit has had a huge impact on Frank – he’s been beaming ever since.”
Speaking at the care home, Harry joked: “I’m here as the care home manager ambushed me on the street! I’ve got to be truthful though, this place is amazing. I can’t believe the atmosphere – people are so friendly.
“Frank is a great guy. I’m so pleased I could take the time to come and chat to him today.”
During the visit, the pair took time to talk about football and family, sharing their favourite stories about West Ham, whilst also talking about what had drawn them both to Bournemouth.
Born and raised in London, Frank is one of seven siblings – all of who supported rival club, Queens Park Rangers. However, Sir Bobby Moore caught Frank’s interest as a youngster, leading him to break the family tradition and become a lifelong Hammers fan.
Frank recounts many happy memories with the club, including taking his daughter to see them play at Upton Park.
Speaking about the visit, Frank said: “Meeting Harry gave me a huge boost. I never thought I’d meet him like this, and it was amazing to reminisce about the Hammers and share stories about living in Bournemouth. He is a such a great bloke.”
As well as chatting with Frank, Harry also took time to meet staff at the home – thanking them for everything they do for local residents.
Located near Queen’s Park in Bournemouth, Bupa’s Queensmount is one of the few care homes in England to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by the Care Quality Commission.