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Portman Road tribute to tragic teenager

PUBLISHED: 11:19 01 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

THERE was a mixture of joy, sorrow and laughter for the fans at Portman Road … before a ball was even kicked.

The sadness came first as members of a Suffolk rock band paid a poignant tribute to the group's guitarist who was tragically killed in a fire.

THERE was a mixture of joy, sorrow and laughter for the fans at Portman Road … before a ball was even kicked.

The sadness came first as members of a Suffolk rock band paid a poignant tribute to the group's guitarist who was tragically killed in a fire.

Then came the joy with an Ipswich youngster being presented with a special Town shirt by club chairman David Sheepshanks.

That was followed by humour when the stadium's scoreboard gave a tongue in cheek message to Norwich City fans.

It was a slightly bizarre scene as musicians from Boot50 trooped out to the centre circle 25 minutes before kick off to pay their own tribute to guitarist Rob Giles who was tragically killed in a fire at Felixstowe in August.

With Ipswich Town players and their opponents from Leeds United warming up on the pitch just a few yards away, the band stood to remember their close friend Rob Giles.

A song, which was jointly written by the 18-year-old, was played before Town's Premiership clash with their Yorkshire rivals.

As the two teams went through their paces the group walked out to the centre circle and touchingly placed Rob's guitar close to the centre spot.

Then over the public address system the band's rendition of These Are The Days, was played.

The former Farlingaye High School pupil had dreamed of performing at Portman Road, and it was hoped the tribute would be a fitting farewell to the Blues supporter. These Are The Days was inspired by the team's play-off final victory against Barnsley.

Rob was originally from Coddenham but moved to Felixstowe two weeks before his death. He died in a house blaze at Holland Road, Felixstowe, which also claimed the life of friend William Stokes, 19, of Bawdsey.

Rob's close friend and Boot50 drummer Jonathan Robinson, also of Coddenham, placed the guitar close to the centre spot after the crowd heard a tribute written by his mother Maggie Giles read over the PA system by Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy.

Mrs Giles, a former head of music at Farlingaye High School, said Rob's dream was to perform his music at Portman Road and the pre-match tribute would have been "the fulfilment of a wish very close to his heart."

Moments later Kieran Brasher, from Cherry Blossom Close in Pinewood, got the thrill of the lifetime.

He was escorted onto the pitch to be handed a Super Blues away shirt from the Town chairman.

Only a few days ago The Evening Star featured the 11-year-old East Bergholt High school pupil who had his hopes of going to see Town play in Moscow dashed when his visa failed to come through.

It meant that all his family, who had also planned to travel to Russia, had to call their trip off.

To round off the pre match events Town fans were treated to a bit of fun when announcer Rob Chandler primed supporters to a special message on the club scoreboard. It followed the gaffe at Norwich City the previous week which made reference to Manchester United taking the lead against "The Scum" at Old Trafford.

The Carrow Road outfit also faced Yorkshire opposition over the weekend and the Portman Road scoreboard recorded it … Sheffield United 2, Our Good Friends From Norwich 1!

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