Stadium of Light surprise for fan battling cancer

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce meets George Hall, who has terminal cancer,  in the home dugout at the Stadium of Light before Saturday's match with Chelsea
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce meets George Hall, who has terminal cancer, in the home dugout at the Stadium of Light before Saturday's match with Chelsea
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TERMINALLY-ill George Hall was granted a final wish as he met Black Cats boss Steve Bruce during a VIP trip to his beloved Stadium of Light.

The Sunderland AFC fan, from Millfield, was given just months to live after doctors diagnosed him with lung cancer last December.

After battling through chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, George was told he may survive for another 18 months.

However, the disease has now spread to his liver, arm and face and doctors say he may not have long left.

A season ticket holder since the Stadium of Light opened, this year George had to take the sad decision not to renew it, while wife Ellen and friends signed up for another year of football.

But George, 65, was delighted with his surprise behind-the-scenes tour of the ground on Saturday.

He said: “It’s been lovely. Absolutely fantastic.”

Ellen, 60, joined her husband on the tour of the Stadium of Light, along with friends Rita Brennan and partner Ernie.

Rita, who has known Ellen since they were 15, contacted the club to arrange the surprise.

The group were escorted through the players’ tunnel and took a pitchside seat in the manager’s dugout.

Steve Bruce took time out before the Black Cats’ game against Chelsea to chat with George.

Steve said: “If you can spend some time and help a little bit then you do and of course we wish him the best of luck.

“Everyone around us is touched by the disease in some way.”

George paid tribute to his wife Ellen, who he described as “my rock”.

He said: “When we met I knew she was the one.”

The couple married just months after meeting in Grindon Social Club and have a daughter, Claire and two grandaughters, Jessia, 13, and Lillie, six.

Friend Rita said George was “just a wonderful person and has worked hard all his life”.

“He is just so kind and caring towards everyone and this visit has built him right up.”

Twitter: @janethejourno