A Colchester United fan was granted a wish to attend one of the team's games for the first time in 35 years after a debilitating stroke.

Mike Short, aged 56, felt the thrill of watching his cherished U's at the Community Stadium.

Previously an active man with a love for football, cars, and beer, Mr Short's life took a turn at 21 when he had a stroke after an operation to control his epilepsy.

This meant he needed round-the-clock care and in September he moved to live at Alderwood Care Home in the city. 

When lifestyle coordinator Taylor Gordon heard of his dream of attending a match, the visit was arranged for the Colchester United vs Wrexham game on April 6.

Mr Short, along with fellow residents, Taylor and clinical manager Charlotte Collier, relished the experience.

"Mike had the most fantastic time,"  said Taylor

"When Jayden Fevrier scored for Colchester, Mike actually screamed and punched the air with excitement."

Taylor also spoke of Mike's joy in enjoying a pint of beer after the match; an experience he was unable to have due to a PEG tube in his stomach for food and hydration.

"Mike has made great progress. The PEG tube is gone, and he can now enjoy eating soft food and drinking thickened fluids – including a pint of beer," said Taylor.

The care home team, spotlighted for their palliative and end of life care at the Great British Care Awards 2023, also managed to enhance Mike's mobility over several months.

With a bespoke physiotherapy programme, he now moves with a stand aid, and aims to walk again.

Expressing his elation, Mr Short said: "I had the best time, even though we didn't win that couldn't dampen how amazing the whole day was."

On his first pint, he said: "A small thing for many people, but a significant milestone for me."

Mr Short's parents, overwhelmed by his progress over seven months, thanked Alderwood for their dedication to improving his quality of life.