A SOLDIER who lost both legs while serving his country was guest of honour at his favourite football club tonight. (Friday, November 9).
Private James Rose, who was badly injured in Afghanistan, presented the ball to the referee before his Middlesbrough FC's Championship match against Sheffield Wednesday.
Boro invited 250 members of the Yorkshire Regiment and their families and renamed the North Stand The Yorkshire Regiment Stand ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
Pt Rose's fiance Naiomi Wise said: "He's down in Headley in Surrey these days, but he's come up specially for this. He just said, 'I can't miss this, it's the chance of a lifetime.' He's so pleased."
A spokesman for Middlesbrough FC said: "We're very honoured that James is a Boro fan and agreed to come to the match and do this. It's great he's a big fan. We're very proud with our links to the whole Yorkshire Regiment."
Both Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday players honoured those who sacrificed their lives in service of their country by wearing special shirts carrying a commemorative poppy.
"This is just a small gesture from the club to thank the men and women of our Armed Forces for the many sacrifices they make on our behalf and to show them how much their support is very much appreciated, even when they are far away," the spokesman said.
A commemorative programme was produced for the match, featuring a cover created by the club's artist-in-residence Richard Piers Rayner, whose graphic novel Road To Perdition inspired a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Hanks.