Terminally ill lifelong Leicester City fan takes time out from LOROS ward to tour Foxes stadium

Published on 2nd May 2019

A terminally ill lifelong Leicester City fan has been able to make a lasting memory with loved ones after spending the day out of the LOROS Hospice ward and taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Foxes ground.

Organised by a childhood friend, 51-year-old Paul Smalley, was for one day able to forget about his terminal illness and enjoy a tour of the King Power Stadium.

The tour was led by Leicester City legend Alan ‘The Birch’ Birchenall, who is also a Patron of the Hospice and later presented Paul with a signed shirt from the team.

“Words can’t describe what an amazing day it was,” said Paul, of New Parks, Leicester. “It really was a once in a lifetime experience.”

Paul was able to watch the team train, while getting an insight into what goes on behind closed doors, with Birch accompanying the tour with a number of anecdotal tales.

“I saw Brendan Rodgers, who I said ‘welcome to the club’ to and Jamie Vardy waved at me,” added Paul, who has been supporting the club for more than 30 years.

“We event met the laundry lady and went into the dining area. Birch took us into his office and was showing us all of his photos over time.”

Paul was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May 2017 and was given a bed on the LOROS Ward in April this year.

His friend, Julie, who he has known since he was a child, said that Paul had a “constant smile on his face” throughout the whole tour.

“I can’t describe it, we are all still buzzing,” she said.

“I knew Paul was a massive fan and emailed the club to see if there was anything they could do, thinking it was a longshot.

“I really appreciate the club and LOROS making the trip possible.”

Birch gifted two shirts to Paul, one of which he has donated back to the LOROS to help raise money. He was also given a shirt signed by the team, which he “was over the moon with”.

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