'˜Pompey Pirate' Craig Bryden to lead team out at Fratton Park
HIS upbeat attitude to his chemotherapy treatment took the world by storm '“ now '˜Pompey Pirate' Craig Bryden is hoping his charm will motivate Pompey at their next home game.
Craig has lung cancer and he went to his first chemotherapy session at Queen Alexandra Hospital dressed as a pirate as a way to make other people smile.
The 56-year-old, from Copnor, became an internet star when a woman he met on the bus took his picture and posted it online, leading it to being shared thousands of times around the world.
Navy veteran Craig said he has been overwhelmed by the hundreds of messages of support he has received.
And he is looking forward to being the Portsmouth FC mascot at the Pompey game on Saturday against Plymouth, after having his spot confirmed by the club.
He said: ‘I can’t wait. So many people in the street have stopped me and people having been saying “look there’s the Pompey Pirate”. I can’t believe it.
‘As for the football, it’s Portsmouth playing Plymouth – two big pirate cities.
‘I’m a big believer in fate – so this is going to be Play Up Pirates rather than Play Up Pompey.’
Colin Farmery, from the football club, said: ‘We’ve invited Craig to be our guest mascot for the Plymouth game. A bit of Pompey Pirate passion sounds like just what we need for a big game like this.’
Craig, a plasterer and decorator of Seafield Road, has been a fan of Portsmouth since he moved to the city from Kilmarnock in Scotland in 1977,
Now he hopes that people can support him even more and help him create a large blue and white pirate flag that he can unravel on the pitch in front of the fans.
He’s also hoping somebody can help him improve his pirate costume.
He said: ‘Rather than a crescent, it could be a skull on the flag. If I walk out and unravel that, the place would go wild. Also the outfit I bought was just a fancy dress one and it’s not going to last a long time. I want to go out looking the best I can.’
Craig survived the sinking of HMS Sheffield in the Falklands and spent 20 years in the navy, with tours in Beirut and in the Gulf War.
He said: ‘I hope to be an ambassador of happiness.’
If you can help Craig, email him at [email protected]