Ronnie Biggs angles for an Arsenal-Chelsea ticket
Great Train Robber escapes death and attempts his most audacious stunt yet
Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber who was freed in August after doctors said he had only weeks, if not days, to live, is now apparently well enough to see Arsenal play at the Emirates Stadium. Biggs was released on 'compassionate grounds' by Justice Secretary Jack Straw on August 7 after he was diagnosed with life-threatening pneumonia and MRSA. At the time his son Michael Biggs said that he feared his father might die before he could celebrate his 80th birthday the next day.
Three months later, however, friends say that Biggs has made a "slow but steady" recovery, putting on weight and growing noticeably stronger in recent weeks.
Biggs, who is unable to talk following a series of strokes, apparently told friends via his spelling board that he wants to see his favourite football team play live before he dies: "I haven't seen Arsenal live since the early Sixties, and think I'm strong enough to watch them one last time. I would love to see the new stadium."
What is responsible for Biggs's miraculous recovery? His family insist that he is still terminally ill, but a friend told the London Evening Standard that basic NHS care had helped him improve. "He is now getting excellent care on the NHS and has responded well to it. He's still not what you'd call a well man... But he can do more things than before and is more comfortable."
"Doing more things" includes going outside last Saturday for the first time since Straw released him. He was able to leave his care home in Barnet, north London to watch the Arsenal-Spurs match on TV at his son's house.
It was after witnessing the Gunners' inspiring 3-0 victory that day that Biggs declared himself fit enough to attend a live game at the Emirates stadium. He hopes to make the November 29 clash between Arsenal and Chelsea. "The win over Spurs certainly perked him up as would a win over Chelsea," his friend told the Standard.
If Biggs pulls this off - getting a ticket to one of the most sought-after fixtures of the season - it could be his most audacious stunt yet. ·
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