A LIFELONG football fan’s dream came true after one of her heroes dropped by for a surprise chat.

Frances Kiggens was left feeling over-the-moon when former Arsenal and Colchester United winger Perry Groves showed up at to meet her at The Oaks Care Home, in Oak Drive, Lexden.

Groves, who starred for the U’s before moving to Highbury for £50,000 in September 1986, helped Arsenal to win the old First Division during the 1988/89 and 1990/91 seasons.

But he was left feeling “truly humbled” after visiting the Lexden care home, so much so he agreed to become an ambassador.


For Frances, who is in her eighties, it was a memory she will treasure forever, having grown up opposite the now demolished Highbury stadium, in north London.

Margaret Sorrell, the care home’s activities co-ordinator, who helped to arrange the visit, said the whole home was delighted by the star’s visit.

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She said: “Frances’ family were all big Arsenal fans and they used to let the fans park on their driveway so they could get to the home games.

“I thought I would try to get Perry Groves to come over and meet her and was thrilled when he said yes.

“Unfortunately, he visited but Frances wasn’t very well, but Perry said he enjoyed interacting with all the residents, he was amazing with them.

“He agreed to return to meet Frances when she was feeling better and she was absolutely beaming.

“You just had to see her face, her eyes lit up and you could tell she really enjoyed meeting one of her heroes.

“She gave him a scarf as a gift and Perry said how humbled he was by it.

“Frances is just an amazing lady and to see her so full of joy was an absolute pleasure.”

Regularly appearing as a substitute for the Gunners, Groves netted 21 goals in 155 league games prior to joining Southampton for £750,000 in August 1992 where injury ended his top-flight career.

Having seen how he had been with the residents here, however, Mrs Sorrell offered him the chance to become an ambassador for the care home, a deal he was more than happy to sign.

“Perry is so lovely and so humble, he said he can’t wait to come back and get stuck into some more music with the residents,” added Mrs Sorrell.

“He was up there singing along, getting involved and moving and said he felt so inspired by his visit.

“There was such a natural interaction between him and the residents which was lovely.

“It’s one of his qualities, that he can talk to them and show real, genuine interest. He spoke about his playing days but he was more interested in what the residents had to say about their lives. We all loved him and I certainly will be pestering him to come back as soon as possible.”