Lifelong Queens Parks Rangers football fan and cancer patient Tony Mills admitted the generosity shown to him by his beloved club touched his heart last weekend.
Tony 52, who was diagnosed with an astrocytic tumour in the brain in March 2012, was the guest of honour as QPR played Reading at Loftus Road on Sunday (February 15).
QPR midfielder Joey Barton started the ball rolling last week as he drove to Eastbourne to hand deliver the tickets for what became known as ‘Tony’s Special Day.’
Tony’s son James made it his goal to raise enough money to take his terminally ill dad and his five-year-old son Ollie to Loftus Road for what could be his final time.
Using social media, James reached his £500 target almost immediately, but the club heard of James’ campaign and decided to take it one step further.
Tony and his three guests, son James, grandson Ollie and daughter in-law Laura, were given a day to remember.
Thereafter, Tony – accompanied by grandson Ollie – gained access to the dressing room to meet the QPR squad and boss Harry Redknapp pre-match.
Five-year-old Ollie then led the teams out as a mascot at kick-off.
At half-time Tony received a personal message from Harry Redknapp on the big screen which received the biggest cheer of the day from the crowd.
After the game, the family were welcomed pitch-side for one final time, before Joey sent them on their way with his signed match-shirt.
Laura Mills said, “It was a fantastic day. The club went above and beyond and made it so special for us all.
“Tony was completely amazed and he said it touched his heart that the club would do that for him and his family.
Laura added, “When adults have a terminal illness it’s very hard to find something that means so much. Spending the day together at QPR and seeing my son Ollie run out as the mascot is something we will all remember.”
Ian Taylor, head of communications at QPR, added, “We’re delighted to be able to assist the Mills family during what is a hugely testing and sad time for everyone.
“The power of social media initially brought this to our attention. Joey Barton and Harry Redknapp have played a huge role in this and it just serves to reiterate what a great family club QPR is and long may that continue.”
Joey Barton tweeted before the game on Sunday, “I hope the QPR family give Tony the reception he deserves at half-time on Sunday.
“I have no doubt they will.”