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It’s a Rovers return for goalkeeping legend and Russets’ resident Bernie

A Bristol Rovers legend has been honoured by his former club.

 

Goalkeeper, Bernie Hall played 162 games for Bristol Rovers during the 60s before his career was ended through injury.

 

Bernie (81) is a resident at the St Monica Trust’s Russets and Sherwood Care Home and it was a member of the care team who contacted the club on Bernie’s behalf.

 

St Monica Trust’s Well-Being Coordinator, Jim Forrest said: “Bernie mentioned during our one-to-one session that he’d like to attend a match with his grandson.

 

“I got in touch with the club to ask if they could provide some match tickets and whether they could do something a little bit special for him on the day.”

 

Between them, Jim and the Rover’s Community Trust CEO, Adam Tutton arranged an unforgettable day for Bernie and his grandson for the home match against Carlisle United at the end of February.

 

After arriving at the Memorial Ground, Bernie and his grandson were given a tour of the stadium before being taken to the home dressing room, where he was given a round of applause by the Rovers First Team and presented with a club pennant.

 

He then enjoyed a pre-match meal in the executive box where he met Club President Wael Al-Qadi, CEO Tom Gorringe and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.

 

At half-time, Bernie and his family were invited onto the pitch where he was introduced to the 9,000 strong crowd.

 

Bernie was then presented with a personalised goalkeeper’s jersey from Adam Tutton and a commemorative cap from Supporter’s Club Board Representative, Helen Wigmore.

 

The number 134 on Bernie’s goalkeeper’s jersey represented the number of consecutive games he played for the first team and the number on his cap was in recognition of Bernie being the 361st player to sign for the club.

 

The day was a complete surprise for Bernie and he was over-joyed with the experience. He said: “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be presented to crowd at half-time and now I know. It was fantastic!”

 

Bernie was only 24 years old when a challenge from an opposing centre forward left him in a coma for 16 days and forced him to retire from the game.

 

One of the highlights of his career was a Fourth Round FA Cup tie against a Manchester United team that included Best, Law and Charlton. Despite losing 4-1, Dennis Law sought him out at end of game to shake his hand and told him he was a brilliant keeper – much better than their own.

 

After retiring from football, Bernie worked as a groundsman at the Imperial Sports Ground. He was also an accomplished cricketer and coached his local school football team.

 

Jim, who accompanied Bernie on the day, has worked at the St Monica Trust for two years. He said: “We’re always looking at new ways for our care home residents to connect with and contribute to the wider community and offer them a choice in what they want to do on their days out.

 

“What I enjoy most about my role is the one-to-one time I spend with our residents and really getting to know them. When Bernie told me his story and I saw the affection he had for his old club, I just had to see what I could do make his wish come true. He had such a great day and the people he met brought back so many happy memories for him.

 

“From the minute he was met in the car park by fans asking him to autograph programmes from his playing days to the final whistle, Bernie was overwhelmed with the reception he received from everyone associated with the club and he can’t thank them enough.”

 

For further information on the Russets and Sherwood or any of the St Monica Trust’s care homes, please contact our admissions team on 0800 952 0300 or e-mail carehomes@stmonicatrust.org.uk.

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