Alf Wells with driver Adam Crofts in the cab of a Class 800 Intercity Express Train cab at London Paddington

Railway stalwart gets first-class treatment as he travels to watch Chelsea as part of surprise 100th birthday celebrations

Great Western Railway delighted a former Newbury station manager as he turned 100, hosting him in first-class and providing a driver’s cab tour as part of a surprise trip to watch Chelsea.

Alf Wells, who worked in the railway for nearly 50 years before his retirement, was given a warm welcome by GWR colleagues at Newbury with banners and balloons ahead of his journey, which was planned by his friend and neighbour Wendy Seddon.

Wendy got to know Alf during lockdown in 2020 and soon realised what a popular figure he is in the community. Alf can be seen walking around the neighbourhood most days, starting off his morning with 20 squats to get him going.

Alf Wells with neighbour Wendy Seddon - Credit Chelsea FC

Wendy, pictured with Alf, said:

“I wanted to give him a 100th birthday to remember as a thank-you for his friendship and, as a die-hard Chelsea fan, I thought this was the perfect way to make his day and show our appreciation.

“The Great Western Railway team at Newbury station were so kind and incredibly generous to Alf. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. He loved his first-class travel and being able to relax in the lounge at Paddington.”

The surprises continued into the afternoon as Alf arrived at Stamford Bridge, where he was greeted by former players and presented with a personalised Chelsea shirt, as well as a letter from current Chelsea captain, Reece James.

This was topped off with a personal video message from former manager José Mourinho and a visit to the post-match press conference, where he met current Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Alf Wells with Chelsea legends - Credit Chelsea FC

Wendy continued:

"Alf is still buzzing with all the excitement and memories of the day and telling everyone about it. He has definitely loved being famous for a day, as well as being totally overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown to him.”

Alf said:

“I just can't believe how wonderful the day was. I can't stop thinking about it and everything that’s happened.”

Contact Information

Catherine Hyde

Notes to editors

First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: