Town fan Ken, 95, is man of the match on VIP return to Portman Road
- Credit: Paul Nixon Photography
An elderly Ipswich Town fan was able to attend his first game at Portman Road in 15 years - after being surprised with the full VIP treatment for his 95th birthday.
Ken Bryant, a resident at Asterbury Place care home in Ipswich, also ran into one his former heroes, John Wark - a Blues legend who made a mammoth 679 appearances for the club over two spells.
Originally from London, Mr Bryant has been following Town for many years and was a regular visitor to Portman Road in the past.
He continued to follow the team despite moving into the care home in Aster Road, watching matches on TV and reminiscing about the club's glory days in the past.
Care UK, which manages Asterbury Place, arranged for the resident to see Town play after discovering he hadn't been to a match in many years.
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It was part of the firm's Wishing Tree scheme, to help residents reconnect with a past hobby or try something new.
When staff at the care home told Mr Bryant he was heading to Portman Road for the Blues' match against Oxford United, he was overcome with emotion and couldn't wait to watch his beloved Town again.
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As well as receiving complimentary VIP tickets to the game, Mr Bryant was treated to a three-course meal in the Sir Bobby Robson suite ahead of kick-off.
The day was topped off when Wark headed into the suite to meet the special guest and spent some time getting to know him.
Unfortunately for Town, Oxford United prevailed victorious in the game, with Matt Taylor scoring the only goal before half-time.
But that did little to spoil Mr Bryant enjoying the experience.
Mr Bryant said: "I loved being back up in the stands and able to see the action up close.
"The atmosphere was as electric as I'd remembered, and meeting John Wark really was the icing on the cake.
"The trip brought back so many happy memories of going to football games, which is something that has been a huge part of my life."
Christine Da Silva, home manager at Asterbury Place, added: "Everyone at Asterbury Place knows how much Ken loves football, and our team members love chatting to him about how each team is doing in the league.
"It was fantastic to be able to grant Ken's wish to watch an Ipswich Town game again, and it was even more special that he was able to get to know John Wark."