Former England cricket captain and Clydesdale Bank Ambassador Alec Stewart OBE met patients and staff when he visited St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley, close to the Bank’s Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) at Gatwick.
During his visit, the Surrey legend was transported back to his sporting heyday as he enjoyed a traditional cricket tea and chatted to patients, relatives and volunteers as part of Clydesdale Bank’s support of Help the Hospices.
St Catherine’s has been providing high quality hospice care, free of charge, to people living in Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex and East Surrey for more than 25 years.
Marlene Coulson from Horsham, one of the patients who met Alec on the day, said: “Alec came across as a really terrific man, who was very interested in the hospice.
“He had a really good sense of humour which we all appreciated too. I’ve been coming to day hospice regularly on a Tuesday since June and I look forward to it all week. They’re angels here at the hospice, they really are.”
Cricket-fan Ron Fearon from Handcross was also there with his wife and carer Yvonne. Ron said, “it was really good to meet Alec, I’ve always admired him as a cricketer and he was very easy to talk to.”
Patient Mick Carter from Crawley said: “I thought it was brilliant, it was really nice of Alec to put the time in and come and see us. It really perked everybody up – although I was surprised how small his hands were for a wicketkeeper!”
Shaun O’Leary, Chief Executive at St Catherine’s Hospice said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome such a prestigious sportsman to the hospice. Alec was very interested to see all the facilities we have here and genuinely keen to meet with patients and staff.
“We hope the chance to sit down for a traditional cricket tea helped to make him feel at home. I know all those who had a chance to chat with him were delighted to spend some time with him.”
Duncan Ponikwer, Managing Partner of Clydesdale Bank’s Gatwick FSC, said: “Alec is such a fabulous ambassador for the Bank and really makes everyone feel comfortable in his company.
“We hope his visit brought some joy to all of those he met and we were delighted to be able to help make the day possible.”