Albion v Stourbridge legends charity match on Sunday, April 2
ALBION goalkeeper Ben Foster gave the patients and staff at Mary Stevens Hospice a welcome surprise when he popped in for a visit recently.
The Baggies stopper took a tour of the Hospice alongside goalkeeping coach Mark Naylor as well as Stourbridge chairman Andy Pountney, vice-chairman Andy Bullingham and Matt Webb, who co-founded the Albion v Stourbridge legends charity match which will be played on Sunday, April 2.
Ben took the time to meet patients in the Hospice's Bradbury Day Unit, learn more about the work done by the Hagley Road charity and delight staff by posing for pictures and signing autographs throughout the afternoon.
He also leant his support to the charity match in memory of Matt's mother, Jane, by donating a signed shirt to the sporting auction, which will immediately follow the game at the War Memorial Athletic Ground.
BEN IS NO.1: Baggies keeper donates signed shirt for charity auction in aid of Mary Stevens Hospice
A host of Albion stars of past and present have committed to supporting the event, with the likes of Geoff Horsfield, Darren Moore, Ian Hamilton and Bobby Gould agreeing to play in the game and help raise money for the Hospice.
Charity match co-founder Naylor said: “The Hospice is a charity which Matt and I have become incredibly close to, and the work they do just blows us away every time we visit.
"To be able to take Ben along was just the icing on the cake and the buzz of excitement and genuine pleasure that met us at every turn is something I'll never forget. Everyone from the patients to the staff and volunteers made us feel so, so welcome and it was difficult to leave at the end of the visit.
"It's a special place, and we can't wait to get out on the pitch and raise more money to ensure they can continue their vital work.”
The charity match takes place on Sunday, April 2 at the War Memorial Athletic Ground (DY8 4HN), with gates opening at 1pm.
Before the game, the Hospice will be putting on a big family fun day including stalls, games, refreshments and a mascot race. There will also be a health hub set up on the day for any members of the local community who would like to find out more about the work of the Hospice and the Anthony Nolan Trust, who are attending as a guest charity on the day.
The first charity match in 2016 was attended by a crowd of more than 2,000 people, and raised almost £16,000 for the Hospice.
Mary Stevens Hospice Group chief executive Stevan Jackson said: “Patients, volunteers and staff were delighted that we were able to welcome Baggies legends, players and coaches to the hospice. Ben Foster caused quite a stir and he and the other visitors spent much time talking to patients and staff – irrespective of their footballing affiliations!"
*All images courtesy of Sarah McDowall photography.