Posted on: Sun 25 Nov 2012

John Terry and military charity Tickets For Troops this weekawarded the 300,000th free ticket to a Chelsea-supporting soldier.

Private Tom Harding of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment and a lifelong Chelsea fan won the milestone ticket for today's game against Manchester City. As part of the celebrations Pte Harding was invited by Chelsea Football Club to meet John Terry at our training ground in Surrey. Terry presented Pte Harding with the ticket which includes access for him and a guest to the Executive Lounge at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea FC donates 50 tickets for every home fixture and have been strong supporters of Tickets For Troops since the charity was set up in 2009.

The charity, which provides free tickets to members of the Armed Forces and those medically discharged since 2001 via the website www.ticketsfortroops.org.uk, has seen over 115,000 servicemen and women register to make use of the service.

Pte Harding, who also plays football for the Battalion, Infantry and Army U23 football team, said: 'I can't believe it. I have been a Chelsea fan all my life but often find it difficult to attend games because of the nature of my job. I never expected in a million years that I would get to meet the captain at the training ground, let alone in the same week have the opportunity and privilege to watch Chelsea take on Manchester City from the Stamford Bridge Executive Lounge.

'I can't thank Tickets For Troops and Chelsea FC enough for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. TFT (Tickets For Troops) does such a fantastic job in keeping spirits high among the boys and girls and I hope they can continue to operate for many years to come.'

Terry, who is a Tickets For Troops patron said: 'it's an honour to have met Tom and I'm delighted to have been able to present him with the 300,000th ticket on behalf of Tickets for Troops. Tom and his colleagues in the forces are real heroes and I and everyone at the club have nothing but respect for the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country.It is wonderful that so many organisations have supported this incredible scheme and such a substantial number of tickets have been donated.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck is also a patron of the charity and welcomed the landmark: 'Chelsea Football Club has been a proud supporter of Tickets for Troops since its formation in 2009. To have given away 300,000 tickets to members of the Armed Forces is a phenomenal achievement and underlines the great respect the Armed Services have within the entertainment and sports industries and among the general public.

'It is extremely fitting that the 300,000th ticket will go to Private Tom Harding for Chelsea's game against Manchester City this weekend and we are honoured that as part of the initiative 50 troops enjoy the opportunity to watch Chelsea at every one of our home games. It is our privilege to host them at Stamford Bridge.'