Darryl Davies’s dreams will come true when he represents his beloved Preston North End at Wembley.
But it won’t be his footballing skills on display in front of 90,000 spectators – the former biology teacher will instead be joining 63 other fans to sing at the FA Cup Final.
Going into the stadium, not as a spectator but as part of the show, will be really exciting and then to go on to the pitch to represent the team I’ve supported for more than 50 years is just amazing.Darryl Davies
Each of the singers – who were chosen from 26,000 entrants – will represent one of the 64 teams which played in this year’s third round. Darryl said he will be honoured to stand on the pitch in his cherished Preston North End shirt to sing Abide With Me.
“It will be an amazing experience,” said the 67-year-old, from west Cumbria. “I’m a season ticket holder and travel down to every home game.
“Going into the stadium, not as a spectator but as part of the show, will be really exciting and then to go on to the pitch to represent the team I’ve supported for more than 50 years is just amazing.
“I’m hoping that I’ll be able to walk out there and sing my heart out, but I’m sure there will be lumps in throats – it will be very emotional.”
The Whitehaven man’s vocal experience includes singing every Christmas with St Bees School choir, where he taught, and performing at birthdays, anniversaries and christenings along with his daughter. He is also known to have performed as an Elvis impersonator.
The choir ranges in age from early 20s up to 100. They will join The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas at the May 30 final, between Arsenal and Aston Villa.
Mr Davies will travel down to Wembley the day before to rehearse with the choir.
In recent years a celebrity solo singer performed the song but this year Songs of Praise teamed up with BBC Sport to offer the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
They will be led by international music producer and Songs of Praise conductor Steve Thompson.
The BBC’s Aaqil Ahmed said: “We’ve had a great response to the competition which has really sparked the interest of those who have a passion for football.
“We wanted to make the competition open to anyone to apply, hence why no singing experience was necessary.”