Preston North End's oldest mascot ... at 105
Preston North End's oldest fan will become the club's oldest mascot when he leads his team out onto the pitch for the opening game of the season.
Bernard Jones, who is 105, will be the PNE mascot at the match against Sheffield Wednesday and it is thought he will be the oldest football mascot.
The great-grandfather will lead the team out in his wheelchair due to his mobility problems but is very excited at the prospect of the experience.
Bernard, who had two sons and a daughter but lost one of his sons, is a grandfather of five and a great-grandfather of two with another great-grandchild on the way.
Bernard, who lives in Barton, Preston, has been supporting Preston North End since before the war. He first heard North End beat Huddersfield Town in 1938/39 while listening to the match on the wireless.
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Bernard said: “Since that moment, I took up North End as my favourite team and have been supporting them ever since.
“I don’t go to as many matches nowadays as my legs have gone but I am still a keen Preston North End fan.
Bernard, who used to work as a motor mechanic, comes from North Wales but married Preston girl Mary Josephine Wareing, who everyone knew as Jospehine in 1945. She died in 2001.
Bernard said: “I am very excited about being a mascot and am sure it will be a great experience.
“I am hoping I will be the lucky mascot and that they win.
“I want Preston North End to finish at the top of the table this season as it would be nice to get into the Premiership.”
Bernard’s daughter Maggie Waltham, who is also a Preston North End fan, said: “It will make my dad’s day to be a mascot for Preston North End and he is really looking forward to it.
“He turned 105 on June 27 and we think he will be the oldest ever football mascot.”
The mascot treat for Bernard was organised by fellow Preston North End fan Anthony McDonald.
Anthony, 61, who has two daughters and three granddaughters, said: “I often joke to my children that when I’m 100, I would love to be a mascot.
“When I saw about Bernard turning 105, I thought ‘wow’ and decided if he fancied being a mascot, I would be happy to pay for it as it is such an achievement to be a fan for so many years.”
Maggie said: “It was totally unexpected and so generous of Anthony to pay for my dad to be a mascot.”