Hull City fans pay tribute to Private Gregg Stone at KC Stadium
IT WAS a moment filled with emotion.
As the widow of Private Gregg Stone walked to the centre spot with the match ball, a hush fell over the Hull City crowd, before applause erupted around the KC Stadium.
Samantha Stone, who is eight months pregnant with Gregg’s baby, walked with two soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, who laid wreaths on the pitch ahead of Hull City’s game against Barnsley.
Gregg, 20, of Atwick, near Hornsea, was shot dead during a mission to rescue a senior Afghan policeman from the Taliban in June.
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Fans, players and officials stood to applaud the three figures as they made their way to the centre of the pitch shortly before 3pm.
Hull City and Barnsley players lined the centre circle as the referee’s whistle sounded to mark a minute’s silence.
With their arms raised in salute, the two soldiers flanked Samantha at the edge of the centre circle while the crowd reflected solemnly and respectfully.
At the end of the silence, as the Yorkshire soldiers went to retrieve their wreaths, city player Liam Rosenior walked over to Samantha, laid his hand on her arm and shook her hand.
Gregg’s parents, Bob and Angie, were also VIP guests at the game and said they were enormously honoured to have been invited.
A total of 400 tickets were donated by the Tigers to members of the Armed Forces for the game.
Prior to the game four standard bearers, led by parade marshal Barry Medhurst, walked around the pitch as fans stood up to applaud.
They then, along with eight soldiers formed a guard of honour as the teams came out onto the pitch.
Mr Medhurst, chairman of the Hull-based Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire Association, said they were proud to be part of the day.
He said: “We have never done anything like this at the KC.
“It is an honour for me to be here.
“It is an honour for us to have the Yorkshire soldiers here and take the standards around the pitch.”
The four standards were the Royal Engineers, the Parachute Regiment, Light Infantry and the British Nuclear Test Veterans.
At half-time, the crowd was introduced to eight Humberside Police officers who had cycled 358 miles up from Warminster to raise money for a rehabilitation charity.
They took the plaudits of the crowd as they did a lap of honour.
And they were then rewarded with a cheque for £1,000 from Allam Marine, the company owned by TIgers chairman Assem Allam.
Lieutenant Tom Burnham, of the 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, was one of the 400 soldiers at the game.
He said: “It has been a Herculean effort and we wanted to come up here to support them and say thanks.
“The money will go towards a rehabilitation programme for soldiers who have just come back from Afghanistan.
“The bulk of the Yorkshire soldiers came back last week.
“We lost nine soldiers in this tour which is why they contacted us and wanted to do something.”
There were also two military vehicles stationed outside the West Stand.