Soldiers' reward for bravery

IPSWICH: Three soldiers injured while putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan have been shown their courage is appreciated.The men, all teenagers, enjoyed a VIP day out watching Ipswich's thrilling 3-2 victory at Portman Road on Saturday from the comfort of an executive box.

IPSWICH: Three soldiers injured while putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan have been shown their courage is appreciated.

The men, all teenagers, enjoyed a VIP day out watching Ipswich's thrilling 3-2 victory at Portman Road on Saturday from the comfort of an executive box.

Privates Alex Tate, from Bury St Edmunds, Shaun Wildney, of Harwich, and Shawn Holroyd, of Canvey Island, are members of C Platoon of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglians in Pirbright, Surrey.

As a mark of appreciation for their bravery Richard Holroyd - a vice president of BT and a former soldier who served in Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland - invited the 19-year-olds to the watch the game from the company's box.

Mr Holroyd said: “I left the army 18 months ago and this a fantastic opportunity to give something back. I have huge respect for what the youngsters of today are doing.

“These are just the same sort of soldiers that I have served with and I hold them in the highest regard.”

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Before the game the trio were introduced to Town players Jon Stead and Reggie Lambe.

They also met the club's chief executive Simon Clegg, who himself served in the army with the Colchester-based 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery.

Pte Holroyd is recovering from being shot in the leg in Afghanistan. He said: “It is nice to be recognised for what we have done.”

Pte Tate sustained a gunshot wound to the Achilles was also thankful that their efforts were not forgotten at home.

He said: “Some countries don't really do things like this and it shows we are appreciated.”

Pte Wildney, a Town supporter with the club badge tattooed on his right leg, was shot in the lower back while trying to give covering fire to a comrade. He said he had found the public were very supportive, especially when they discovered he had been wounded on active duty.

Pte Wildney added: “I get a lot of pints bought for me.”

All three men are due to return to Afghanistan next month.