Care home resident left speechless after 'hero' Lester Piggott message

two elderly white men smiling and talking

Legendary jockey Lester Piggott sent a personalised video message to Foxholes resident Alf, 83, thanking him for his support. - Credit: Foxholes Care Home

An elderly Hitchin-based resident has been left in awe, after his care home managed to secure a special message of support from legendary jockey Lester Piggott.

2021 got off to a good start for 83-year-old Foxholes Care Home resident Alfred Lewis - whose boyhood dream was to become a jockey - when his hero Lester Piggott sent him a special video message.

"Racing fanatic" Alfred was left speechless when his favourite jockey sent him a personalised video message thanking him for his support over the years - as part of Foxholes' Wish Upon a Star campaign.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest flat racing jockeys of all time with 4,493 career wins, including nine Epsom Derby victories, 85-year-old Lester was often cheered on from the stands throughout the 1960s and 70s by Alf, a former British Army chef.

During that time, Alf attended the Epsom Derby for over ten years where he backed Lester in all the big races, with the all-time great more often than not paying out in first place.

The uplifting surprise was part of the family-run Hitchin home’s Wish Upon a Star campaign, which seeks to find out who its residents’ idols are and then try and connect them.

lester piggott horse jockey

Lester speaks with Foxholes resident Alf, after the care home managed to connect the two through its Wish Upon a Star campaign. - Credit: Foxholes Care Home

Speaking of his boyhood dream of becoming a jockey, Alf said: “My uncle had a farm in Essex where I used to ride the horses, probably from the age of ten or even younger.

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"I fell in love with the sport and always wanted to become a jockey like Lester - I was the perfect size! I would have liked to have gone to Newmarket and trained as one.”

The brainchild behind the campaign, Adele Querele, activities coordinator at Foxholes care Home, said: “It’s important to make sure our residents are stimulated mentally, physically and socially – especially this year with the restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We always try and go that extra mile to create special moments for our residents and the Wish Upon a Star project has been a great way to continue putting those all-important smiles on our residents’ faces.

“Alf was delighted to receive a personalised message from his racing idol Lester, and we’re all delighted to see how much it meant to him – he’s followed Lester’s career very closely and has had the fortune of being able to see him race in the flesh. Receiving the surprise message made Alf’s day, and that’s what it’s all about.”

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