PNE fan Albert scores helping hand

Preston North End v Queens Park Rangers SkyBet Championship match at Deepdale
Albert Halliwell and his helper Melanie Norris
Preston North End v Queens Park Rangers SkyBet Championship match at Deepdale Albert Halliwell and his helper Melanie Norris
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Preston North End has been busy off the pitch securing a helping hand for a dedicated supporter.

The club recently reached out to its supporters in search of a volunteer matchday carer to assist 75-year-old Albert Halliwell at home games.

Albert is a disabled season ticket holder in the Alan Kelly Town End and has been a fan of the club for 67 years. He has followed the club far and wide until recently when it emerged that he could only attend games with a carer.

Unfortunately, Albert didn’t have any friends or family to attend with him, so North End posted his story on its media outlets in the hope of finding somebody to help.

The appeal was shared far and wide and the club managed to find the perfect fit for Albert in the form of fellow PNE fan Melanie Norris.

Melanie said: “I saw the advert on Facebook, screenshotted it to my mates and asked them whether they thought I should go for it and they agreed that it was perfect for me,” said Mel who assisted Albert for the first time at the Birmingham City game.

“I’m a District Nurse in Blackpool so that’s probably why I wanted to help Albert so much, his quality of life was at stake so something needed to be done. Because I work in Blackpool, a lot of people I come in contact with are Blackpool fans so I always make sure I have my North End lanyard on.”

Albert said: “I suffered a stroke 20 years- ago so coming to games has always been a struggle, but it’s nice to be able to still go to the games and that’s all thanks to Mel - she’s been very good to me.”

Disability liaison officer Hannah Woodburn said: “Mel’s willingness to go the extra mile for a fellow PNE fan typifies our supporters and what they are all about.”