Visiting Jewish Care’s Vi and John Rubens home in Redbridge for the third consecutive year, Leyton Orient footballer Ben Chorley said he felt “blessed” to spend time with residents.
Chorley and Orient teammate Michael Symes chatted with residents and staff and purchased a scarf knitted by resident Hetty Tauber. “The price of wool seems to go up every year,” Chorley joked. “I’ve probably got eight scarves now. She’s a good businesswoman.” He joined a singalong for those with dementia.
“I always come away from here feeling very, very blessed,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to come back here and see the same people that you’ve seen every year. Millie Gee, the 105-year-old, is just unbelievable.
“They’re always upbeat and it makes you feel humble. Some of them have lived through two world wars and seen some awful things, but their zest for life is just as strong as ours.”
He added that the visit was something he looked forward to each year. “At the start of every season when I come back into training I make sure that I’m booked in to come here.”
Ms Gee said it was “always lovely” to see the players. “I remember Ben from last year and had asked for some photos. Hopefully I’ll get them this time.”
Jewish Care’s Neil Taylor said the visit — a belated Mitzvah Day activity this year — “was really appreciated by the residents, staff and volunteers. The fact that Ben has now visited three years running and started to build a warm relationship with several residents is a credit to him and the club’s community outreach programme. Older people can still enjoy football and since they can’t get to a match at least the players come to them."