When he was younger, Mark played in goal for Merseyside Youth Association. This was where his passion for football and LFC began.


Mark followed his passion for LFC, for a number of years, going to matches across the UK until unfortunately at 22, Mark suffered an acquired brain injury after the Hillsborough tragedy.


Being a Hillsborough survivor, Mark often talks about his experiences on that fateful day. He talks about his time at both Sheffield and Walton Hospital, where he was visited by the LFC players (at the time). One of the most memorable players who visited Mark, back then, was Bruce Grobbelaar.


During their visit, Mark received goalkeeper gloves (wore by Bruce Grobbelaar during the semi-final FA Cup match between Sheffield and Nottingham Forest) and a shirt signed by Bruce. Both items have been treasured by Mark ever since and he has always wanted to not only thank Bruce and LFC for their help and support at the time, but see Bruce himself as Mark was blind during his time at hospital.


One of our support workers on Mark’s team has known for a long time how much thanking LFC and re-meeting Bruce Grobbelaar would mean to Mark. So, last November (with Mark’s consent) our support worker (Paul) reached out to LFC via email to try and organise a visit from Bruce. Paul eventually contacted the ex-LFC player’s liaison officer and after a number of email exchanges, a date was set for the end of January 2024!


Paul wanted to keep the visit a surprise until the last moment for Mark and therefore, kept Mark’s wife updated with information. After Paul received confirmation of Bruce’s visit, the day before, he got in touch with Mark’s wife via telephone so they could tell Mark the exciting news.


Speaking of when he found out, Mark told us: “I've waited so long for this. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening”.


On 30th January 2024, Mark finally re-met Bruce Grobbelaar! The pair (alongside Mark’s wife and support worker) chatted about life and future plans before Mark presented the shirt and gloves he had been gifted nearly thirty five years ago.


Unfortunately, over time, the gloves had cracked and began crumbling. After seeing this, Bruce told Mark that he would visit again and bring a new pair of signed gloves alongside a signed copy of his new book!


When telling us the story, Mark said: “I was over the moon. He [Bruce] is such a lovely man. It was amazing to see him after all this time. He hasn’t changed a bit. He was just so down to earth”.


Mark’s wife, Lynn, also told us: Mark’s team support him week in and week out, through all his tough times and there can be many. For them to then make this dream come true for Mark, after he has waited so long, is unbelievable. The difference this has made to Mark, even though it may only be for a short time, is amazing. For staff and Natural Breaks to make this dream come true is amazing. I would like to personally thank Paul, Peter and Lynne for all they do for Mark alongside all the staff that work behind the scenes”.


Mark is a very private person but he wanted Natural Breaks to share this good news story on his behalf to showcase all that his support staff do for him. Mark also wanted to say a big thank you to Bruce, LFC and of course Paul - for creating this opportunity and making his dream come true.