Abba party tribute to Palace supporter
A care home has paid tribute to one of its residents by holding an Abbathemed party in his honour.
Mark Watts, 59, had Down’s syndrome and lived at Ashford Lodge residential home, in Chilham, for nine years.
He was described as a‘ lovely, kind, generous man,’ avid Crystal Palace supporter and huge Abba fan with a lot of character.
The party had been planned for his 60th birthday, but Mark sadly passed away with a heart valve failure before the event.
But the party continued in his honour, where friends and family wore Abba fancy dress and listened to the Swedish pop group’s songs.
Mandy Dodd, senior service worker at the home, created a floral tribute in the shape of a Crystal Palace shirt in silk flowers, with Mark’s name in the middle for his funeral.
While at Ashford Lodge he attend regular classes at Elham Valley College where he enjoyed woodwork and indoor gardening for many years, as well as the coffee and the company of fellow students.
Natasha Lewis, Ashford Lodge service manager, said: “His family have kept the lovely wooden walking stick Mark made for himself at the college, in memory of him.
“People have been inquiring about him, because he was a familiar figure in our local community, and he will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends in the village, at the college and at Ashford Lodge.”
In 2011, staff delighted him with a surprise visit to a Crystal Palace home match at the club’s home ground of Selhurst Park in south London, complete with picnic lunch and a tour of the stadium.
Mark first arrived at Ashford Lodge as an emergency temporary placement in 2007, when he was unable to leave his bed.
The team devised and delivered a personal care package and helped restore Mark to health.
With much support and encouragement from his support workers, he was able to live life to the full.
Tributes have been paid to Mark Watts
Mark Watts with ex-Crystal Palace player Sean Scannell