Black Cats-mad Callum Cuthbertson’s dreams came true after he won our Sunderland AFC mascot competition.
The 12-year-old from Plains Farm was the first name out of the hat in our competition to lead the Black Cats out in their clash against Manchester City yesterday afternoon.
Callum, who goes to the city’s Sandhill View Academy, said it was an “amazing” day.
It culminated in him joining his heroes out onto the Stadium of Light pitch in front of 40,000 fans and the TV cameras.
He also got to see the team’s changing rooms and enjoyed a kick about with Black Cats defender John O’Shea.
Afterwards, Callum said: “It was amazing. I got to walk out with Didier Ndong. Afterwards I had a kick about with John O’Shea and got our photos taken.
“It was a really good experience.”
Yesterday was the last chance for Callum to be a mascot. He turns 13 on Tuesday but 12 is the cut off age limit.
Callum is a massive Sunderland fan and has spent numerous holidays waiting outside the training ground to get photos and autographs of his heroes.
The day proved the perfect pick me up for the youngster who had to have his left arm amputated below the elbow when he was just ten weeks old.
He has recently had some difficulty with the comfort of his prosthetic arm.
Dad Andy Cuthbertson, 36, said: “He has been going through a bit of pain.
“He has been a bit down in the dumps so it was the perfect experience and picked him right up.”
Andy, who works as an emergency care technician for the ambulance service, added: “He was absolutely over the moon. We could see him from where we were and he was grinning from ear to ear.
“He was really nervous beforehand but Didier Ndong took him by the shoulder and said ‘it’s alright’. John O’Shea was really good as well and settled him down.” Callum’s tickets win meant his mum Jane and 10-year-old sister Grace also got to go to the game by sitting in his and Andy’s season ticket seats.
Unfortunately, despite a spirited display Sunderland lost the match two nil to champion contenders Man City.
But Callum and Andy said it did not detract from their enjoyment of the day.
Andy added: “The whole experience was excellent for him.”