A plucky radio DJ Ben Sheppard from Brecon put his love for the Wales national football team to the supreme test – wearing an England shirt and belting out God Save the Queen.
The 23-year-old presenter stood in the middle of Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham during a busy lunchtime wearing an England shirt and, as the Union Jack fluttered around him, sang the first few bars of the anthem through gritted teeth.
His deep embarrassment only came to a merciful end when he was “apprehended” by two burly security men and frog-marched from the area.
How he came to be facing such a terrible predicament is a story almost as painful as his rendition of the anthem.
Ben, who has been with Wrexham-based Capital FM for just over two years and has helmed the popular Breakfast Show since last January, said: “I’m originally from Brecon and have been a staunch supporter of the Wales national team for as long as I can remember.
“When Wales qualified for the Euro 2016 tournament for the first time in 58 years I was absolutely ecstatic, which led me into making a very foolish promise.
“Just before the Wales v England game right at the start of the competition I entered into a solemn pact with my producer Callum Farmer, live on air, that if Wales lost I’d stand in the middle of Eagles Meadow, wearing an England shirt and sing God Save the Queen.
“The challenge also worked the other way round and Callum agreed that if the England team lost he’d don a Wales shirt and sing the Welsh national anthem under a Welsh dragon flag.
“I thought I was on safe ground – until Wales did lose, going down 2-1, with Daniel Sturridge scoring the winning goal in injury time.
“Although, like all true Welsh supporters, I was absolutely gutted about this I decided not to duck the challenge and to go ahead with it, as terrible as it might be.
“I chose to do it at Eagles Meadow as the centre has declared its strong support for the Wales team and attracts lots of people to provide me with maximum embarrassment.”
After a couple of postponements – one for the aftermath of the recent EC referendum – Ben was as good as his word and turned up at Eagles Meadow to do his penance.
Wearing a shimmering white England shirt and as the red, white and blue Union Flag flapped in the breeze close by, he took up position in the rotunda area in front of Marks & Spencer and began warbling the strains of the national anthem.
As a crowd of shoppers gathered around to watch his face turn the colour of a Wales shirt he only managed to get out the first few bars of the anthem before two beefy Eagles Meadow security men could stand no more and dashed in to stop him.
Then, as the cheers became louder, they marched him away to the nearest exit.
Ian Bostock, who took a hand in proceedings with his boss, security supervisor Matthew Hibbert, joked: “The sight of someone in and England shirt, singing the anthem that is identified most with the England team was more than any true Welshman could bear, so we knew we had to do something to end it, and the only way was to chuck him right out of the centre!
“Actually, I think we did everyone a real favour because the singing was just terrible and even the Queen would have objected if she’d been there.”
However, Ben did get full marks for his cheek from a party of his regular fans who had come along to watch the cringe-making episode.
Mum Helen Pemberton from Chirk was there with her three children, Chloe Davies, 16, Gemma Bunn, 22, and 24-year-old Lee Bunn, along with her partner Robert Davies.
Helen said: “We listen to Ben’s show every morning so when we heard on air that he was going to fulfil the promise he made to his producer Callum we just had to come down and watch.
“He had a lot of guts doing it, especially as Eagles Meadow is such a hotbed of support for the Wales team.
“But, as much as we admire him, I have to admit that his singing was so bad that it was only fair that the security men came him to take him away.”
Eagles Meadow operations manager Stuart Bellis, who was amongst the crowd watching Ben perform, said: “It’s nice to see him carrying out his forfeit at our centre, especially as everyone knows we’re supporting Wales so strongly in the tournament.
“It obviously took a lot of guts to do this in front of a partisan crowd but I’m really glad the security team came in to put everyone out of their misery when he started to sing.”
Ben himself said: “I was a bit nervous about doing it but I think everything went well in the end – and even I was happy about being escorted off the premises before I could murder any more of the anthem.
“I hate to admit it but I have made another pact with Callum that if Wales win the tournament I’ll have my hair dyed the same colour as the Wales player Aaron Ramsey who has just has it done a nice shade of fluorescent blond.”