Bradford vicar and Preston North End fan the Reverend Dale Barton has told how football legend Sir Tom Finney, who died on Valentine’s Day played a special part in his own family history.

England hero Sir Tom devoted his life to the club and became its president.

And soccer fan Mr Barton of St Clement’s Barkerend and St Augustine’s, Undercliffe, told of his special memories of Sir Tom, who died aged 91.

“My father went out to North Africa in 1942, was involved in the invasion of Sicily and the fighting all the way up Italy. He ended the war as part of the army of occupation in Austria, running football matches for the troops,” said Mr Barton.

“Tom Finney played in one of those games, so it is my proud boast that Sir Tom played for my dad. I wrote to Sir Tom after my dad’s death in 1994 and got a handwritten reply.”

Mr Barton and his son were among the crowd in the Sir Tom Finney Stand at Preston’s match at Deepdale on Saturday where moving tributes were paid.