Dreams come true for young Sunderland fans

Mascot Tom Smith being led on the pitch at Sunday's match with Blackburn by Sunderland's Connor Whickham. Below, Aaron Vincent with Wes Brown.
Mascot Tom Smith being led on the pitch at Sunday's match with Blackburn by Sunderland's Connor Whickham. Below, Aaron Vincent with Wes Brown.
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IT was a dream result for all Sunderland fans - and a dream come true for two little boys.

Tom Smith and Aaron Vincent got the chance of a lifetime when they led their footballing heroes on to the pitch at the Stadium of Light yesterday.

Mascot Aaron Vincent being led on the pitch at Sundays match with Blackburn by Sunderlands Wes Brown.

Mascot Aaron Vincent being led on the pitch at Sundays match with Blackburn by Sunderlands Wes Brown.

The schoolboys, who have overcome life-threatening heart conditions, were picked as mascots for Sunderland’s game against Blackburn Rovers.

Sunderland daft Aaron, six, from Easington Lane, was just three when he became unwell with what was thought could be asthma, but a scan at Sunderland Royal Hospital revealed the heart condition.

After a six-month search for a donor organ, Aaron underwent the lifesaving transplant procedure and despite being once critically ill, he is now a normal little boy who enjoys classes at Easington Lane Primary School.

Mum Andrea Bennett, 36, said seeing the youngster walk out on the pitch at the Stadium of Light was the most amazing feeling in the world.

She said: “It was just fantastic. At first I got a bit worried he wasn’t going to do it, because he just got so excited and nervous, but in the end he walked out no bother and he loved every single minute of it. I was so proud of him.”

The mum-of-four said it was the perfect early Christmas present for Aaron.

Fellow mascot Tom, seven, who lives in East Rainton, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, an illness that affects one in 5,000 babies.

The East Rainton Primary School pupil will need a heart transplant when he is 12.

But, he doesn’t let his condition dampen his love of football and is a regular at the Stadium of Light with dad Andy.

The 35-year-old, who owns TRG Car Sales in Houghton, said: “It was absolutely amazing, just a fantastic day. He got to have a kick about on the pitch beforehand and he was loving that.

“He enjoyed everything about the day. I was really proud of him.”