Elderly Newcastle United fan suffering from loneliness gets heartwarming surprise from England legend

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Bill has always wanted to try his hand at commentating, and was given his chance by none other than Sir Geoff Hurst

An elderly Newcastle United fan who had suffered from isolation and loneliness during lockdowns was given a day to remember by England football legend Sir Geoff Hurst.

The England icon met 72-year-old Bill at a special event held at St. James' Park and tasked him to help create the iconic 1966 World Cup winning goal, allowing the Magpies supporter to fulfil his dream of becoming a commentator.

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It has been a difficult few years for the Northumberland care home resident, who was paired with BT Care Home Companion Ricky during lockdown. The scheme sees BT employees volunteer to chat with those suffering from loneliness to keep them company.

Ricky learnt of Bill's dream of becoming a commentator during their weekly calls and set the wheels in motion for the day to remember.

80-year-old Hurst helped Bill commentate on his goal with the famous line of “they think it’s all over… it is now”.

Bill and Sir Geoff at St. James’ ParkBill and Sir Geoff at St. James’ Park
Bill and Sir Geoff at St. James’ Park | -

Bill labelled the day a "dream come true" after not being able to see that many family and friends since Covid-19 hit.

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He said: “Meeting Sir Geoff was a dream come true - I’m a huge football fan and being able to commentate ‘that’ moment was incredible. Even more so because we were able to share it with my friend too.

“I don’t get many visitors at the home anyway and when Covid hit, the number dropped to almost none.

“I did feel really lonely and one of the few people I spoke to regularly was Ricky - we bonded over our love of football."

Ricky (centre) learnt of Bill’s commentary dreams during phone callsRicky (centre) learnt of Bill’s commentary dreams during phone calls
Ricky (centre) learnt of Bill’s commentary dreams during phone calls | -

Ricky, Customer Care Advisor based at BT’s Gosforth Contact Centre added: “This scheme really resonated with me because my Nana and Grandad live in a rural area and don't have people around them. Luckily, just before COVID I taught them how to make video calls, and upgraded my Grandad to a smartphone and taught him how to use it.

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“But I’ve seen first-hand what difference that makes to them just to see each other face-to-face. So, I thought it would be nice to do that with someone else as well.

"When I was introduced to Bill, we quickly bonded over Newcastle United, and I learnt that he's a huge supporter. Bill told me all about when he was younger, that he used to go to all the games - he still commentates over old football games with me. And he is actually a really good commentator, and it's great to listen to.”

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