Ex-Claret goalkeeper’s tour of Afghanistan

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A FORMER Clarets goalkeeper who joined the Royal Marines two years ago faces his toughest challenge yet when he embarked on his first tour of Afghanistan at the weekend.

Mark Crossley (23), who serves with 45 Command Arbroath regiment in Scotland, held an open house party for family, friends and neighbours at his mum Karon’s home in Coronation Avenue, Padiham.

He has now set off to the war zone and while his mum said there have been some “teary moments” she said Mark was looking forward to getting to Afghanistan.

“It’s their job, it is what they are trained to do, but it is a little more difficult for those here,” she said.

Mark was just 16 when he signed as an apprentice for Burnley Football Club after seven years at the club’s Centre of Excellence.

An injury ended his chances of a career in football and instead he opted to join the Armed Forces.

After gruelling training he passed out of the Marines and since then has completed tough Arctic exercises in Norway.