Despite what they said, Joe Rafferty, Matt Hudson, Ryan Ledson and Tom Barkhuizen weren’t just driving by when they went to see Preston North End fan John Patterson as part of the Whites Christmas campaign.
Barkhuizen joked that it was a coincidence that he and his three team-mates happened to arrive at John’s front door, but of course, there was a much more poignant reason behind the visit.
The four Lilywhites men presented John with a hamper, provided by the club’s catering provider, Heathcote&Co, after he was nominated for a PNE themed gift by his son, Sam.
Sam nominated his dad after he had suffered with multiple health issues in recent years which have prevented him from attending games at Deepdale of late.
“He’s not been so well the last four or five years, he’s been up and down,” explained Sam. “The last 12 months have been quite tricky, so I thought we’d try to catch a break and have some good news and lift his spirits a bit.
“We kept it a surprise, which was hard work but good, I think it paid off. You could tell by his face when they walked in that it was probably the last four people he expected to see. It was good and he deserved a bit of a lift really.”
Although Sam had found it difficult to keep the surprise a secret from John, his dad still admitted that it was the last group of people he expected to see at the door.
“I didn’t expect anybody coming through the door, never mind the North Enders – that’s absolutely brilliant,” said John.
“It really is amazing that these lads put themselves out a bit and give a bit of time to do things like this.
“I do follow the North End quite a lot and have done for many, many years, and it’s great to see them [the players] and it’s really, really appreciated.”
Thank you to Heathcote&Co for providing the specially made Christmas hamper for John’s Whites Christmas surprise!