Football legend John Barnes joined the family of a Liverpool girl who became the inspiration for a children’s hospice to officially open the £11m offices of The Contact Company (TCC).

Barnes, who scored 108 goals in a glittering 407-game career with the Reds, and TCC’s founder and CEO Asif Hamid cut the ribbon to the new 48,000 sq ft Kingsgate Building.

They were joined by the family of Claire Louise Cain, who died of cancer in 1989 just a few weeks short of her 10th birthday and gave her name to Claire House Children’s Hospice, which opened its doors in Wirral in December, 1998.

Claire’s parents Chris and Bobby and sister Tracey also planted a time capsule to commemorate TCC’s 10th anniversary.

In front of an audience of 170 VIPs and invited guests, Hamid said: “The opening of Kingsgate is a statement of our intent and our ambition. We now have 1,300 staff and people want to work here.

"This is the future. We want to grow our turnover to £40m inside five years and we’re already looking for a third site.

“Claire House Children’s Hospice is our chosen charity this year and we’re delighted that they can celebrate our 10th anniversary and cut the ribbon to Kingsgate.”

TCC event with John Barnes

TCC CEO Asif Hamid and Liverpool legend John Barnes 

Claire’s mum Chris Cain said: “It’s an honour to be asked to open the building and it’s even more of an honour to talk about Claire. To be talking about Claire 27 years after her death makes me feel very proud.”

Barnes, who is a close friend of Hamid, took part in a footballing question-and-answer session and posed for photos with fans.

He said: “I’ve lived in Liverpool for nearly 30 years and I’ve seen it grow, especially in the last five to ten years.

"It has a lot to offer in terms of the River Mersey and the airport. Where we are now in Birkenhead is just a mile from Liverpool city centre.”

The ceremony also included speeches from Wirral Council leader Phil Davies and Paula Basnett, CEO at Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

The day started with a business breakfast debate about Brexit and was hosted by BusinessCloud editor Chris Maguire.