A TERMINALLY ill war veteran will watch the England team play in the World Cup semi-finals in style thanks to hospice staff.

Mark Lyle, of Bishop Middleham, near Sedgefield, will be able to kick back for the match against Croatia tonight in the lounge of St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Durham, which was decked out in flags and bunting.

The 37-year-old, who will sport giant Union Jack hands, has praised staff at the centre for going above and beyond to help him enjoy his time there.

“People think of a hospice as a place for old people, but there are young people like myself,” he said. “Being here has given me the opportunity to live my final days to the full. I never know what will happen week to week as they are always full of surprises. I can’t thank the staff enough.”

Mr Lyle from Bishop Middleham is currently receiving in-patient care at the hospice following a terminal cancer diagnosis in March.

He had his stomach removed in May, 2017, and after undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy started to recover well, only to be told it had returned and spread to other organs.

During his time at the hospice he has been surprised on a number of occasions by kind staff gestures.

These have included decorating the lounge for World Cup games and organising for a restaurant meal to be brought in for him and wife Katarina Sirchich-Lyle, 38.

Mr Lyle added said: “It’s all been so unexpected. The staff do so much for you, it’s like being in a hotel and nothing is too much trouble.

“It has helped me and my wife to feel like ourselves again. I know that every day is precious and St Cuthbert’s has given us the opportunity to make memories.”

A package driver for delivery company UPS’s Sedgefield depot, Mr Lyle had previously served in the Army for six years, completing two tours in Iraq - one of which was during the war in 2003.

“It means the world to me and also to my visitors,” he said. “My Army friends have travelled to see me while I’m here and it was great to enjoy a beer in the gardens.”