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Ian and his family get VIP treatment thanks to Aston Villa FC

16 January 2023

Thank you Aston Villa FC, Aston Villa Foundation and Cazoo for giving one of our patients and his family an unforgettable experience.

Ian Murchington, who is being cared for in our Inpatient Unit (IPU) at John Taylor Hospice, is a lifelong Aston Villa fan.

Our wonderful hospice teams wanted to surprise him with a unique experience that Ian and his family could enjoy together and reached out to the club to make it happen.

Ian’s brother, Paul, and two of his daughters, Avah and Sienna, arrived at the hospice on the morning of December 2nd to take him for a trip out.

Ian, from Kingstanding, had no idea what to expect. He said: “I had no idea where we were going or what was going on, I was just told to be ready to go out.”

Little did Ian know, they were taking him to Aston Villa Football Club’s training ground in Bodymoor Heath to meet the players and see them in action.

Ian and his family were given VIP treatment. They were given a tour of the training ground and got to meet the players, including Tyrone Mings, Ashley Young, captain John McGinn and Ollie Watkins.

Watching the training session, Ian said he was, ‘ready to put the players through their paces’ and got to see them attempt the infamous bleep test.

Speaking about the visit, Ian said: “It’s been a really nice surprise, I had absolutely no idea it was going on. But it’s made me really happy.”

He was also given a shirt signed by the players.

But the surprises didn’t stop there. Ian and his family were given hospitality tickets to the Boxing Day match against Liverpool FC.

And, as part of Aston Villa Foundation’s Supporting our Own initiative, Avah was asked to be a mascot and walked out on the pitch with Goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

Ian said it was an ‘amazing experience’ and he was ‘so proud’ of Avah for being incredibly brave and walking out in front of 45,000 people.

“It was a shame about the result”, he added, as sadly the home side lost 3-1. But nevertheless, the family had a great time and Ian enjoyed spending quality time with his daughters.

Jaydene Houlston, from our Personal Health Budget Team who helped organise the surprise, said: “It has been a privilege to work with AVFC, in organising this amazing experience for Ian and his family.

“Nothing was too much for AVFC and they have gone above and beyond to help create a special experience for Ian and his girls. We are so grateful for their support.”

From everyone at the charity, Ian and his family, we want to say a huge thank you to AVFC and Cazoo for this incredible experience.