VIP package for PNE’s oldest fan

VIP: Bernard Jones with Heather Buckell, presenting him with a North End Soul t-shirt
VIP: Bernard Jones with Heather Buckell, presenting him with a North End Soul t-shirt
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Preston North End’s oldest supporter will be man of the match on Saturday when the Lilywhites take on Oldham Athletic at Deepdale.

Bernard Jones, 102, will be treated to a VIP package and meal in the Invicibles Lounge, will meet the players in the player’s lounge and is set to receive a signed shirt.

The day has been organised by Heather Buckell of fan club North End Soul, after hearing about the former season ticket holder from a friend while watching a game.

She said: “I was talking to a friend of his daughter’s and she was saying the only reason he doesn’t get on the games anymore is because he can’t get up the stairs.

“I said that’s not a good enough reason, and I started thinking of ways I could help.

“On the way out, after the game, I bumped into first team coach John Dreyer, spoke to him about it, and he’s sorted it all out.”

Bernard who was born in Ruthin, North Wales, ‘adopted’ the club after listening on the radio to the FA Cup Final in 1938, when George Mutch scored the winning goal.

Fortuitously, he was to meet and marry Preston girl Josephine at the end of the war, and settled in Broughton, where he still lives independently.

Heather added: “He told me he can’t wait to go on and kept smiling. I can’t wait for it myself, it’s a pleasure to be able to take him. He’s been through two world wars and has to be Preston’s oldest fan.”

She added: “I’ve also promised that if we go up this season, I’ll come and fetch him again, and anytime from the beginning of the next season, weather permitting. But it won’t be like Saturday with everything laid on!”

His daughter, Maggie Waltham, said: “He’s a really looking forward to it, it will be a lovely day.”

Bernard was one of 10 children, and served as a Quartermaster sergeant in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the Second World War, serving in Madagascar and Burma.

Afterwards he worked as a motor mechanic.