Portsmouth amputee footballer through to European final
A TOP amputee footballer from Portsmouth is to play in a European final.
Ray Westbrook, from Cosham, is in Turkey playing for the English national amputee side.
Tonight he is due to play the Turkish national side in the European Amputee Championships final that starts UK time at 5pm.
His partner Hiedi Jones, 35, said: ‘I’m ecstatic regardless of the score today.
‘Everybody that follows Ray and the football club will agree with me that to get where they are today is a massibe achievement.
‘He’s going to be so proud to walk out on the pitch in front of 30,000 people, that’s all he’s dreamed of.’
Ray, who manages Portsmouth Amputee FC, flew out to Turkey 10 days ago for the tournament.
He lost his left leg to cancer at the age of 13.
The English side have made it through to the finals having beaten France, Russia, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
The match is due to be streamed live on YouTube.
Speaking from Turkey this morning, Ray, 35, said: ‘It feels absolutely amazing.
‘I’ve always dreamed as a kid to be a footballer and to play in front of thousands of people, and now my dreams have come true.
‘Apart from my family, football means everything to me.’
Ray plays centre back for England and started Portsmouth’s amputee team two years ago.
Two other members of the team, Roger Whitehouse and Chris Waller, and the city’s physio, Anna Harvey, were selected for the squad.
Ray added: ‘It’s made me really proud to coach them and see them come so far in such a short space of time.
‘This is the pinnacle of amputee football and hopefully we can bring it home but win or lose we have still achieved something massive in our lives.’