A DREAM came true for a schoolgirl fighting brain tumour when she met her football heroes at Wembley Stadium.
Erin Bates was asked to be a player mascot at Friday’s England v Moldova World Cup qualifying game by the FA, who were impressed by the 10-year-old’s fund-raising efforts.
Erin, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for an inoperable brain tumour, helped to raise £5,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The football-mad Oxclose Community Academy pupil, who lives in Washington, sported a Moldova strip and escorted defender Vitalie Bordian out onto the hallowed pitch.
Dad Simon, 35, said despite wearing the opposition’s colours, the brave lass was still ecstatic to be among her idols.
“She loved it,” he said. “It was the first time she had been to Wembley, and it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t happen very often.
“She got a wave from Frank Lampard and Joe Hart, and there were a few close-ups of her on the TV, so she really enjoyed it.”
Erin then got to watch the match – which ended in a 4-0 victory for England – from the south west corner of the stadium with her family.
Simon, said: “It was great. The FA gave us tickets so my other daughter Lauren, and Erin’s aunty Rachel, came along to watch the match.
“Erin got to keep the strip she was wearing, and they gave her a goody bag.
“It was a bit of a late night for her, but she was fine and she really enjoyed it – she was just happy to be there.”
The family made the most of their trip to the capital, and Erin enjoyed some sightseeing as well as the big game.
Erin, who was diagnosed with the life-threatening tumour in June, also visited luxury department store Harrods.
The Washington AFC under-12s player is preparing to undergo an eight-month course of chemotherapy at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital to hopefully kill off the tumour, which is so deeply lodged in her brain it cannot be removed by surgery.
Her family have been so touched with the help they have received from the Teenage Cancer Trust, this year’s official FA charity, that they decided to help its efforts by holding a fund-raiser – Erin’s Marathon Match, which took place at Durham FA’s ground in Chester-le-Street, on August 28.
More details about the appeal can be found via www.erinsmarathonmatch.info.