Private Coan Gildart, cousin of Oliver Gildart, will walk Wigan Warriors out onto the pitch on Thursday evening as Oliver prepares to bid farewell to the fans at the DW Stadium.
18-year-old Coan, is a Paratrooper of Third Battalion Parachute regiment, and has just returned from serving on the front line in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Coan passed what his known as the hardest selection in the military gaining the maroon beret in December of 2020, 125 men started the selection and only 19 passed.
Private Gildart returned from Afghanistan last week after being part of a 600 strong team of Paras and special forces who were involved in the mission to rescue and evacuate over 4000 British and Afghanistan citizens from the Taliban.
Speaking on his career, he said: “I’ve always wanted to be in the Para’s since being a young lad, to be a part of it now and serving makes me really proud, I have the best soldiers around me.
“Since coming home it’s made me reflect on life a lot, people really don’t know how lucky they are to not live in a war zone and be scared for their lives not knowing when the next day is going to come.
Coan’s cousin, Oliver, has been with the Warriors since he was a teenager and has made 142 appearances for the Club, scoring 65 tries and winning four major honours. Oliver followed in the footsteps of his father Ian Gildart, who made 139 appearances for the Club in an eight-year spell between 1986 and 1994. Coan himself was a former Wigan Scholarship player before his move to the front line.
Coan said: “When I was in Afghanistan we tried to keep in contact as much as we could, I think it was a big wake-up call for him [Oliver] having me away whilst he was playing, and for the family as well, but that is the career I chose, and it has to be done.
“I’ll never forget seeing his first try, it’s been great watching him improve his game during his time at Wigan. Obviously, I and all the family will be sad to see him go to Australia, but if you really want something you have to go for it and that is what he has done.”
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