A dad-of-two with terminal cancer was overcome with emotion after his football hero Andy Booth turned up at a family gathering.
Gary Whiteley, 60, of Holmfirth, was diagnosed with lung cancer three-and-a-half years ago and was given just six months to live.
Lifelong Town fan Gary first met Andy in 2012 just before the club’s League One play-off final victory over Sheffield United at Wembley and collected a signed football.
And when relatives from as far away as Edinburgh and Bridlington wanted to meet up with Gary and wife Julia, 64, it was decided to contact Andy again and ask him to call in.
Martin Higgins, husband of Gary’s niece Kim, turned to the Examiner to help organise the surprise and Gary was “in bits” when Andy walked in.
“It was so emotional. We were all in tears,” said Martin, 54.
“It’s fantastic that Andy took the time to drop in.
“You just can’t buy moments like that.”
Gary has had chemotherapy treatment and is on medication. He has almost lost the sight in one eye and his health isn’t good.
Twenty relatives turned up for the gathering at The Old Bridge Inn in Holmfirth and Gary was overwhelmed.
Julia said she was proud of her husband and added: “He is a real fighter and an inspiration.
“He was given six months to live and we don’t know how long he has left.
“He can’t have any more chemo but he has been so brave. This has given him a big lift.”
Andy, who played for Town and Sheffield Wednesday, stayed for half-an-hour chatting with Gary and his family.
Martin – a Wednesday fan – was chuffed too and said: “It was just unbelievable. We are so grateful."