Dad who missed Liverpool players after 140 mile drive stunned by Jurgen Klopp's invite

Jurgen Klopp invited Mark Preston into his garden to sign some Liverpool shirts for charity
Jurgen Klopp invited Mark Preston into his garden to sign some Liverpool shirts for charity -Credit:Mark Preston

A dad who drove more than 140 miles to catch Liverpool players in training was stunned when Jurgen Klopp invited him into his garden.

Mark Preston left his home in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham at 3:30am on May 8 to drive down to Liverpool's training ground in the hope of getting a shirt signed for his charity, MissedABeat. But when he finally arrived, he was disappointed to find the first team had been given a day off.

Undeterred, Mark decided to travel to the area where he believed Jurgen Klopp lived, eventually finding his house, where he was stunned to be welcomed into the family's garden by the Red's manager's wife, Ulla.

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MissedABeat raises money to install defibrillators in schools, sports venues and public places in the North East of England. The charity is run entirely by its founder Mark, who tragically lost a number of close friends to heart complications.

Mark said: “I’m a Liverpool fan because of Peter Beardsley, and I did my first ever fundraising event with him in 2022. Ever since I’ve been asking footballers to sign shirts for the charity, which I then auction off, using the money to pay for community defibrillators.”

Mark said: “I couldn’t have asked for a more genuine person. You see what he’s like on TV, he was 100 times better than that. The little time he gave me will potentially save someone’s life one day.”

The German manager, whose last game with Liverpool FC is next weekend, signed a number of Liverpool shirts for MissedABeat while reminiscing about his time at the club with Mark, who is a die-hard LFC fan.

One of the shirts was worn during this year’s Carabao Cup Final in Wembley, where Liverpool secured a record 10th EFL Cup title against Chelsea.

Fundraising has become a part of Mark’s family now, with his teenage son organising a charity lemonade stand of his own accord. Riley, 13, raised £800 and helped install a community defibrillator at his school, Greenfield Academy in Newton Aycliffe.

Mark said: “I was away at the time, so he used his pocket money to set up the fundraiser. I’m proud as punch, so’s his mum”

The signed LFC shirts will be framed, then auctioned off at one of MissedABeat’s fundraising events.

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