Football fans’ tribute to late friend Richard

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Football fans and residents would be forgiven for doing a double-take after a group of pals decided to paint a huge St George’s cross on the side of a house in memory of their friend.

Leighton Boon, of Bellbanks Road, was joined by friends ‘JP’, ‘Porky’, ‘Bakka’, Louis and ‘Mini’ for the challenge ahead of the first World Cup game on Thursday.

The group took three hours to complete the work on the side of Leighton’s house in memory of their friend Richard Puttick, who did the same during the last World Cup.

The 42-year-old, said, “We’re all in our early 40s and none of us have been that excited by the World Cup before, you always think it’s not going to happen and don’t get too excited.”

But he said as the date got closer, World Cup fever spread among him and his pals and they decided to roll up their sleeves and get painting and pay tribute to their friend.

He said, “I think it will brighten the street up and it’s a bit of excitement for the World Cup. While we were doing it, cars drove past and tooted their horns - it brings a smile to people’s faces. I suppose I’ll have to paint over it once England are out as it would look a bit stupid at Christmas!”

Donations are being made in Richard’s memory to St Wilfrid’s Hospice and the friends are hoping anyone who sees the piece of artwork will put money in a charity pot if they spot one in any stores.

The pals, who used one pot of paint to finish off the cross, intend to watch the England games in the Corn Exchange.

Football fans’ hopes of an encouraging start to England’s World Cup campaign were dashed on Saturday night when the team lost 2-1 to Italy. Daniel Sturridge had levelled the score just moments after Italy took the lead in the first half but viewers who had stayed up for the 11pm (GMT) kick-off then saw Mario Balotelli’s header early on in the second half secure a 2-1 win for Italy.

Today (Tuesday) sees Belgium take on Algeria, Brazil versus Mexico and Russia play against South Korea.

Roy Hodgson’s men will step out to face Uruguay on Thursday (8pm kick-off GMT), knowing that a defeat could see them out of the tournament should Italy and Costa Rica draw in the other Group D fixture.

• St Wilfrid’s Hospice provides care and treatment for people living with a life limiting illness and cares for more than 1,000 people every year. Visit