Widow Agnes Whalen has got a new zest for life thanks to a trip to her beloved Celtic ground – arranged by the care home where she lives.
Seventy-seven-year-old grandmother Agnes Whalen counted off the days until her visit to the football club which she and her late husband, William – nicknamed “Bung” – used to cheer on most weeks for 30 years.
Her family says the visit – set up by the manager of the Alma McFadyen Care Centre in Dalbeattie, Dumfries – has brought back Agnes’s appetite and even got her back on her feet.
“She couldn’t walk before – I think she just felt really low,” said her son, Rae, who lives in Dalbeattie.
“But now she’s walking every day and she’s even been round to my house for the first time in three years. She’s got her appetite back and it’s given her a new lease of life.”
Leanna Mitchell, manager of the Alma McFadyen Care Centre, in Mill Street, Dalbeattie, was racking her brain to come up with something to lift Agnes out of the doldrums and hit upon the Celtic trip – despite being a Rangers supporter herself.
She contacted the football club, which donated two tickets for Agnes to be a special guest at the home match against Motherwell on October 15.
She cheered on her side to win 2-0 and said later: “It was wonderful and Rae will be taking me there again.”
Miss Mitchell said: “Agnes was feeling very low but, in anticipation of going to see Celtic play, she came by my office every day to say ‘one less sleep to go’.
“Before that she wouldn’t leave the home – it’s just lovely to see her so much happier.”
Agnes, a former cook at Dalbeattie High School, was brought up in Palnackie, where she lived with her husband after they married in 1965. Mr Whalen, a retired radiator factory worker, died seven years ago, aged 71.
Agnes used to support Rangers but, in 1978, their son Rae, then aged nine, talked her into going with him and William to a Celtic game.
“After that we couldn’t hold her back – she fell in love with Celtic and she and dad went to most home games,” said Rae Whalen, now aged 47, who is manager of the Farm Foods retail store in Dumfries.
“Ten years ago Mum and I went to Seville to watch Celtic in the UEFA cup final, which we lost 3-2. But, after Dad died, she only went to about three more matches and the last time was four years ago.
“She misses Dad greatly – he was the love of her life. And she has been so down in the dumps that she lost her appetite and gradually stopped walking.
“The prospect of this trip to Celtic brought her back to life.”
He added: “Leanna, at the Alma McFadyen Care Centre, told her she would need to get her appetite back to be well enough to go – and it’s worked.
“I’m over the moon about how much better she is. It was beyond the call of duty for Leanna to arrange this trip – especially as she is a Rangers supporter herself.
“It just shows how much the staff at the home try hard to find out what makes residents tick.”
Agnes, who has two grandchildren, Meghan, aged 15, and Molly,11, was accompanied to the October 15 match by Michelle Stitt, senior care assistant at the 20-bed Alma McFadyen Care Centre, which is run by the St Philips Care group.
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