A BRAVE boy who took part in last night's final of Euro 2004 is due to have pioneering surgery in under a fortnight.
Nine-year-old Ryan Patterson, from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, was born without a right hand.
But he has refused to let the disability hold him back. He is a keen sportsman, with a passion for football - particularly playing in goal.
His determination was recognised when he was chosen as one of two `escorts' from the UK to walk out with the players before the match between hosts Portugal and Greece, who went on to win 1 - 0.
Shortly after Ryan, from the village of Seskinore, returns home he is due to set off again to hospital in Leeds for an operation intended to give him greater movement.
The operation, scheduled for July 14, will involve removing a toe from each of his feet and surgically attaching them to what there is of his hand.
His mother, Grace, said the date for the operation came on the same day he learned he was to be a Euro 2004 escort.