A lifelong Southampton fan said he was ‘over the moon’ to watch Saints at Wembley after travelling from war-torn Gaza.

Former royal marine Jack Parnell, 61, from Harefield, has spent the last 25 years working with the United Nations responding to global emergencies.

The lifelong Saints supporter said there hasn’t been a conflict in the last two decades that he has not seen first-hand.

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Jack has worked in Afghanistan, Iraq and two-years-ago was deployed to Ukraine after war broke out with Russia.

Despite his aid work in Gaza, Jack new he didn't want to miss his home team take on Leeds United at Wembley in the Championship playoff final on Sunday.

The former marine said: “I knew this was a game that I didn’t want to miss, and I just made it out at the last opportunity to get me to London on Sunday.

Daily Echo: Jack Parnell made it from Gaza to Wembley“My job involves working closely with the World Health Organisation in war-torn places such as Gaza.

“I have spent decades working in places in the midst of conflict but what I have seen in Gaza is one of the worst. Its such a compact area and that makes the situation a lot more difficult.”

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The 61-year-old’s  job involves co-ordinating a temporary hospital in Gaza as well as supporting the Gazan hospitals which have become damaged due to the conflict with Israel.

Daily Echo: Jack Parnell made it from Gaza to WembleyHe previously worked as head of security for Tony Blair during the former-PM’s tenure as the Middle East envoy for Palestine and Israel.

Jack continued: “I have been a Saints fan since I was a young boy. I am a season ticket holder, but while I’m away my son uses it as he is a doctor at Southampton General.

“Its very difficult to get out of Gaza. You have to go through the front line and then into Israel.

“You are then escorted by the UN through the Dead Sea, then escorted into Jordan and then into Amman. Then I got a flight to London.

“It has been wonderful to watch Saints this season. No VAR and some good, aggressive and hard football. I had no doubt we were going to win.

“It’s going to be great to have Saints back in the top tier of English football.”

Jack will be returning to Gaza in early June.