When Chris and some of his best friends at Berith and Camphill Partnership went out for a pub meal, they weren’t expecting two football stars to drop in to say hello.
But that’s what happened, thanks to the Wolverhampton Wanderers ‘Wolves wishes’ initiative, and their past and present Keepers Matt Murray and Aaron McCarey.
‘I looked up and had to rub my eyes twice’, says Chris. ‘I couldn’t believe it. There they were, coming towards us.
‘It was amazing, the greatest experience. We had a good three quarters of an hour chat. I missed my starter, but it was worth it!’
Starting their own team
The visit from Matt and Aaron came about with help from Jonathan, a staff member at Berith and Camphill Partnership, as a surprise for the group. They’re big Wolves fans – and have started their own football team.
‘I have autism’, explains Chris, ‘and it’s a team for people who have autism and learning difficulties. Football is good because people have fun and enjoy themselves. We have a laugh. We’d like to get into a league and play against other teams.’
The name they’ve chosen for their team, ADP Allstars, comes from a website that Chris set up: www.autismdontpanic.co.uk ‘When people are diagnosed with autism we want to say don’t panic, we are here’, he explains.
Before the visit ended, there was another huge surprise, when Matt and Aaron presented the group with a gift of a whole set of brand-new football kit.
‘It was fantastic’, says Chris. ‘We’ve had some great help from people since we started and it was great encouragement for Matt and Aaron to come and meet us.’