Abba party trib­ute to Palace sup­porter

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Helping Others -

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

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