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Rugby league legend surprises care homes to present match tickets

Former Widnes Vikings and St Helens rugby league star, John Stankevitch, surprised people supported at two of our care homes this week, inviting them to an upcoming St Helens vs Widnes Vikings Legends charity match.

John, who played for both Saints and Widnes, made a surprise visit to Glenwood Care Home in Widnes, which supports people with complex learning disabilities as well as our older people’s care home, Eccleston Court in St Helens. He spent time with staff and the people they support, presenting them a number of tickets to the big match, which he is organising through his charity the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation. The match will be held at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes on 16th October.

Glenwood is home to ten people with complex learning and physical disabilities and Eccleston Court supports over 50 people with age related needs, including dementia. Staff and people supported at Glenwood are huge Vikings fans, attending every home game together. They have also benefitted from a pioneering partnership between Community Integrated Care and the club, which sees them enjoy weekly sports and activity sessions with Vikings community coaches. Glenwood also features an incredible Widnes Vikings themed room, which showcases the history of the club and was developed as part of a recent major refurbishment of the home.

The people supported at Eccleston Court are devoted Saints fans, and there is a stunning Saints themed area in the home, with signed photographs and memorabilia. John enjoyed touring the themed areas of both care homes, seeing how the staff use them for rugby league themed activities and reminiscence sessions.

The Widnes vs St Helen’s Legends match has been organised by the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation, a charity that John set up in honour of his late mother who sadly passed away last year. The fundraising event will see legends of both St Helens and Widnes line up on the pitch again, for another local derby. The game will star rugby legends such as Martin Gleeson, Lee Hanson and Paul Atcheson.

The event will also feature a host of fun activities – from children’s entertainment, youth and amateur matches, and an evening reception with entertainment.

John Stankevitch said: “I’m really pleased to be able to support Community Integrated Care, who provide fantastic care to people with complex and challenging needs, and make a real difference to people’s lives. The Cathie Stankevitch Foundation is all about inclusion and community engagement, so I’m really pleased so many people from Community Integrated Care can attend the match, and be part of this special day.”

John continues: “I really enjoyed my visits to Glenwood and Eccleston Court, and was really impressed by the staff’s passion and dedication to improving the lives of the people they support. The Vikings and Saints areas they have created are amazing, and there was a real buzz in both of the care homes. I’m sure they will all have a really enjoyable day!”

Karen Hayes, Service Manager of Glenwood Care Home said: “The people we support were absolutely thrilled to be visited by John Stankevitch, who personally delivered us with tickets to the Legends match. They are huge Vikings fans and it will mean so much to them – and our colleagues – to see their favourite players from years gone by take to the pitch again. It’s going to be such a fun and exciting day out for us!”

Amanda Kelly, Service Manager of Eccleston Court said: “I’d like to thank John for his generosity in giving so many of the people we support free tickets to the Legends match. They’re going to have such a fantastic day!”

Watch the video of when John Stankevitch surprised our care homes with match tickets by clicking here.

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