Hartlepool care home scheme is a knockout after making resident’s wish come true

Retried Hartlepool boxer Michael Hunter paid a surprise visit to one of his biggest fans, George Leach, at Seaton Hall Residential Home. Also pictured is the home activities co-ordinator Katrina Croft.
Retried Hartlepool boxer Michael Hunter paid a surprise visit to one of his biggest fans, George Leach, at Seaton Hall Residential Home. Also pictured is the home activities co-ordinator Katrina Croft.

A Hartlepool care home scheme to make residents’ wishes come true proved to be a knockout for one town man.

Seaton Hall Residential Home has created a wishing tree on which residents write the top three things they would like to do.

Michael Hunter shows off his belts to fan George Leach.

Michael Hunter shows off his belts to fan George Leach.

Top of the list for boxing fan George Leech, 78, was to meet his idol, one of Hartlepool’s most successful fighters Michael Hunter.

They made it happen by getting in touch with the former champion who was more than happy to oblige.

Katrina Croft, Seaton Hall’s activities co-ordinator, said: “Every resident has three wishes and my job is to try to fulfil them all.

“George wanted to see Michael Hunter because he used to train with him so I asked if he would come down to see George and he said yes.”

Michael, 40, took along two of his seven championship belts to show George and spent time chatting to him about his days in the ring and posed for photographs.

Although not a boxer himself, George used to spend time at Hartlepool’s Boy’s Welfare gym where Michael trained.

Michael, who hung up his gloves in 2012, said: “I met George before a long time ago.

“He used to come in the gym a few times and I remembered him when I saw him.

“It’s just a nice gesture. I brought the European title belt which I ripped off Esham Pickering and the Lonsdale belt which I won outright beating Esham Pickering.

“It’s just nice for George to see something like this.”

During his professional career Michael was beaten only twice in 33 appearances and won eight of his 10 major title contests.

He was British, Commonwealth and European super-bantamweight champion between 2004-06.

Katrina added: “George was absolutely over the moon. You could see it in his face that he was elated.”

Other wishes on George’s list are to get another tattoo and have a pint in a pub.

The home made another resident’s wish come true recently when they had a visit from a fireman and arranged for another resident to wear an army uniform for a day.

Katrina added: “We try to get everyone involved including families.

“It is all part of our personal centred care.”