No rest for the wicket: Horndean care home resident returns to the cricket pitch

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An 86-year-old ex-cricket player was ‘bowled over’ with delight when his care home organised for him to return to the pitch.

Care UK’s Pear Tree Court, on Portsmouth Road, Horndean, pulled out all the stops for resident Barry Reed when they discovered it was his wish to revisit the cricket stadium where he used to play.

Barry, who enjoyed a career as a first-class cricketer for Hampshire in the 1960s and 70s, was whisked away to the Utilita Bowl in Southampton for a meet-and-greet with current players and an exclusive tour of the club.

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The former right-handed batsman was also surprised by an emotional reunion with some of his old teammates, along with budding players he used to coach.

Barry Reed with members of the Hampshire first cricket teamBarry Reed with members of the Hampshire first cricket team
Barry Reed with members of the Hampshire first cricket team

Barry represented Hampshire in 122 first-class matches over the decades and still has a keen passion for the sport.

Barry added: “It was a wonderful, unexpected surprise. I just can’t believe it! It was great to meet up with everyone again. It brought back some great memories.”

The special visit was part of the home’s Wishing Tree Initiative, which encourages residents to put wishes forward, allowing them to reconnect with a past hobby or try something completely new – from flying a plane to enjoying a fish and chip supper, no wish is too big or small.

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Aimee Sparks, Home Manager at Pear Tree Court, added: “Everything we do centres around supporting residents to live fulfilling lives, which is why we are always eager to find new and exciting ways to enable residents to enjoy the things they love.

L-R former pro cricketers Tim Tremlett, Barry Reed and Rob PfeifferL-R former pro cricketers Tim Tremlett, Barry Reed and Rob Pfeiffer
L-R former pro cricketers Tim Tremlett, Barry Reed and Rob Pfeiffer

“When the team heard that Barry would like to relive his years as a professional cricket player, we knew we had to make it happen.

“It was such a memorable and emotional day. Barry clearly still has the passion and love for cricket – and still has a very keen eye. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Utilita Bowl for helping us to make Barry’s wish come true.”