In a recent visit by David Mooney and Chris Dagnall to St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, the Club was made aware that Dennis had supported the O’s for over 70 years after Mooney and Dagnall spent the day playing dominoes at the Hospice.
St Joseph’s Hospice is an independent charity set in the heart of east London providing compassionate support and care for people with life-limiting conditions and terminal illnesses covering Hackney and the City of London, Newham and Tower Hamlets, both at the hospice and by home visits.
It was during the visit that Mooney and Dennis quickly developed a relationship that ended with the Irishman disappearing to his car before returning with one of his training shirts that he personally signed before giving to Dennis as a gift.
Orient is a club that Dennis holds strongly to his heart, having first started attending matches from the age of five when he would sit on his father’s shoulders before becoming a regular supporter in the South Stand.
A decline in his health over recent years has prevented Dennis from being able to attend matches and his last visit at Brisbane Road came in August 2012 when the O’s hosted Stevenage.
Upon his arrival to The Matchroom Stadium on Saturday, Dennis expressed his joy at being able to return to the O’s saying, “This is great! I was delighted when I was told we were coming to the game. I used to love coming to Brisbane Road before my health no longer made it possible.”
As the players warmed up, Dennis shared many memories from previous matches and named a few of the O’s greatest players he had seen over the half a century that he has supported, such as John Jackson, Tommy Johnston and Laurie Cunningham.
A smile then beamed across the 78-year-old’s face as David Mooney made his way towards the North Stand to greet him, before giving him a Leyton Orient home shirt that had ‘Mooney 10’ printed on the back.
Thrilled with the gesture, Dennis declared, “I was not expecting anything like this! This is wonderful. Thank you!”
“This is out of this world,” he continued. “He’d already given me a shirt before so I really didn’t expect anything like this.”
The pair then spent time together talking and looking through a number of old Orient ticket stubs Dennis had collected over the years before posing for pictures together.
After speaking to Dennis, David Mooney said how happy he was to see the 78-year-old back at Brisbane Road.
“It is great to see that Dennis could make the match. Howard told me the other day that he was coming so I managed to organise getting him a shirt. We shared a bit of a moment between us when we last met and I just hope he had a wonderful day today.”