Queen Alexandra Hospital patients get Fratton Park match day experience thanks to new scheme

PATIENTS in hospital are no longer missing out on football games thanks to a new partnership.
Mark Coates making sure the AD commentary links to the Queen Alexandra Hospital radioMark Coates making sure the AD commentary links to the Queen Alexandra Hospital radio
Mark Coates making sure the AD commentary links to the Queen Alexandra Hospital radio

Portsmouth’s first home match of the season against Shrewsbury Town FC was carried live from Fratton Park to patients at Queen Alexandra Hospital last week via audio visual commentary.

It is usually used for blind and partially sighted spectators attending match days and gives a minute-by-minute description of action on the pitch.

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Mark Coates, from the AD commentary team, came up with the idea and spent some months getting tutoring from hospital radio’s Sharon Twine as well as getting equipment installed at Fratton park and doing test transmissions prior to the season.

Mark Coates from the AD commentary teamMark Coates from the AD commentary team
Mark Coates from the AD commentary team
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He said: ‘We already provided a bespoke service for blind supporters so they could get a headset and headphones and receive a live commentary about precise game play action without any delay.

‘However, with outstanding commentators like Danny Parkinson, Dan Shaw, Frankie Rudland and Dan Casey in the team, it made sense to expand this first class service and we wanted to reach other fans who, because of health complications, couldn’t get access to matches.

‘Now we’ve set up some social media gateways for fan interaction and are hoping to raise a small pot of money so that we can buy signed footballs and shirts for some of our listeners at QA and keep their spirits up while they get better.’

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The finance to cover the costs of additional equipment and line costs has come from the Hayling Lions Club, of which Mark is a member alongside a consultant at the Cosham hospital.

The club’s chief executive Mark Catlin said: ‘This is a great initiative and one we are only too willing to support.

‘Well done to all of the team in pulling this together, and hopefully listening to Pompey will give a great lift for all those Portsmouth fans unfortunately confined in hospital.’

The team will be broadcasting Pompey’s game on Saturday against Wigan Athletic.

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To listen to the match live while in a ward in Queen Alexandra Hospital, request a set of headphones, turn on the bedside TV unit, sign in and press the button for the hospital radio station to listen to the match for free.

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