A celebration was held at LOROS yesterday to recognise Leicester City’s Alan ‘The Birch’ Birchenall’s 10 years of dedication to the Hospice as a Patron.
Lady Gretton was joined by LOROS CEO John Knight, as well as dozens of patients, staff and volunteers as a bird table made especially out of birch plywood was revealed.
A caricature of Birch, drawn by local artist Clive Francis, whose father-in-law has recently attended the Hospice’s Day Therapy, was given to him as a gift.
“This was really something special and a wonderful surprise,” said Birch, who was first asked to be a Patron in August 2009.
“Who would have thought all those years ago when I was watching the first brick being laid at LOROS that I would be presented with Birch’s very own bird table.”
Birch regularly visits the Hospice and has also helped raised thousands of pounds for LOROS over the past decade.
“I would like to thank all of the staff and volunteers here at LOROS, who are all amazing,” added Birch, who actually cut the first turf for the LOROS Professional Development Centre build back in 2016.
“I always like to put a smile on the faces of patients and I, myself, never leave without a smile.
“LOROS really is a wonderful organisation and hopefully I’ll be a Patron for many more years to come.”
Lady Gretton, who has known Birch for ‘many years’, made a speech at the event, thanking him for all of his support.
“I was absolutely thrilled to be able to be able to celebrate Birch being a LOROS Patron for 10 years,” she said.
“I remember fondly when Birch bought in the Premier League trophy to LOROS, there was one patient who was very poorly and down; then after Birch left, I thought he would be up, skipping down the corridors.
“Birch really is an asset to the Hospice and he has made such a difference to LOROS over the years.”
LOROS CEO John Knight said he thought Birch made the perfect Patron, thanks to him being ‘well-known’, ‘highly respected’, ‘widely loved’ and ‘committed to LOROS’.
“He is also caring, consistent and is brilliant with staff, volunteers and staff alike,” he added.
“He is upbeat, humorous and a ‘can do character’. It is a privilege to have him a Patron.”