Scottish Cup final: Gary reaches ‘holy land’ after 12,000-mile trip

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A TERMINALLY ill Hearts fan who flew 12,000 miles to see his heroes yesterday visited Tynecastle for the first time in 39 years.

Gary York, who is confined to a wheelchair by motor neurone disease, spent two days and thousands of pounds flying from New Zealand to Scotland. The 52-year-old from Auckland sat by the pitch he last saw aged 13 and said: “It’s a dream come true to be back – it’s the holy land.”

Gary, originally from Broomhouse, emigrated in 1973. But after marrying, raising a family and enjoying a successful career as a toolmaker, he was diagnosed with MND in 2009 and given a life expectancy of between one and five years.

Gary has avidly followed Hearts’ fortunes since he emigrated. When it became clear his team would take on Hibs in the final, his family went to great lengths to organise a final trip home. Yesterday, Hearts ground staff arranged for Gary, his wife, Iris, and three brothers to visit the ground.

An overwhelmed Gary said: “I never thought I’d be in Tynecastle again. It was pretty amazing to be back.

“The ground’s changed a lot. We just had the terraces and there was only cover on about a quarter of it, so if it was raining most of the punters got wet.”