A FOOTBALL-mad bride-to-be got the surprise of her life when her sisters treated her to a Black Cats-themed hen party.
Susan Chapman, 37, was gearing up to run the Sunderland half marathon when her sister Nicola Smallwood, 34, said she would treat her to a sports massage on Saturday.
But the sisters were diverted to the Lambton Worm, in Low Row, where friends and family, including third sister Sarah Britnell, 33, were waiting, dressed as referees.
Susan was immediately whisked upstairs to change into a red-and-white wedding dress, made by her sisters, who had been planning the surprise for months.
The party then headed for the Stadium of Light, where they saw Sunderland beat Southampton 2-1.
The mum-of-three who is set to wed social worker David Cooper, 40, on August 1, had almost put a spanner in the works when she signed up to Sunday’s run.
Fearing they might spoil the surprise, they let the Susan, of Thorney Close, go on training for the event.
“I was so surprised,” Susan said. “I was going to run in my dress, so I was a little disappointed as I wanted to get a personal best and I had been training hard. But they have signed me up for the Durham Half Marathon in four weeks instead.
“Nicola said we would go for a sports massage, but I couldn’t think of anything worse. She then got a phone call off her other half, saying we had to collect something from the Lambton Worm.
“We walked into the pub and there was everyone blowing whistles, my sister Sarah and friends had come up from London. They said ‘this is your hen party’. I absolutely love football. It was amazing, then we went to see the game.”
The group then went for a meal in the city centre and were met by Susan’s work colleagues from Deerness Park Health Centre, where she is a health care assistant.
“She’s a big Sunderland fan and we came up with the idea months and months ago,” Sarah said. “I live in London and I have been back and forward to my other sister organising it. We got in touch with a man at the Stadium of Light, who got us a signed football shirt and my sister’s name in the programme.
“She has always loved football and we wanted something a bit different, because she is always surprising people.”