Mum of brave Sunderland mascot George Johnson named among country’s most inspirational women

Emma Johnson with George and Ava and her award
Emma Johnson with George and Ava and her award
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THE mum of poorly youngster George Johnson has been hailed an inspiration at a national awards ceremony.

Emma Johnson received the accolade at the Inspiration Awards for Women, Inspirational Mother Awards.

Emma Johnson after winning her Inspiration Award

Emma Johnson after winning her Inspiration Award

The 32-year-old, who gave up work to care for little SAFC fan George, four, who suffers from an undiagnosed gastro condition, said it was an “emotional” experience.

“I never win anything, so I never expected to win,” she said. “Just to be nominated was a surprise.”

Emma, who is George’s main carer and also mum to Ava, five, was entered for the award by her friend and dog groomer.

She attended the awards ceremony with family, including husband Neil Johnson, 33, originally of Farringdon, who now lives in the Wirral.

“I was shocked when they called my name out,” she said.

“And to see the reaction of my family was really overwhelming.

“I wish it was a joint award with Neil because what we do is a joint effort between us.

“He is as deserving as anyone else, and he and the kids inspire me to keep going.”

Emma, George and Ava gave short speeches at the event, on Saturday, which was hosted by TV personality Gloria Hunniford.

The founder of the Caron Keating Foundation, which the awards supported, said she had taken a shine to adorable George, who is due to undergo more tests at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, the week after next.

“The kids were over-the-moon with the award and held onto it all afternoon,” said Emma.

“At the end of the ceremony they asked all the winners to come back up on stage with their awards.

“Everyone else’s was nice and shiny, and mine was covered in jam and sugar because the kids had it when they were eating afternoon tea.”

The ceremony, held the day before Mother’s Day, helped to give Emma the “best” day yet.

“Since I became a mum I’ve spent nearly every Mother’s Day in hospital with George,” she said.

“We were shattered for most of it, but it just made it extra special going there on the Saturday then having Mother’s Day at home.

“We’ve got the award standing up with the Mother’s Day cards.”

Emma, an Everton fan, and SAFC supporter Neil are hoping to travel to Sunderland on Saturday, April 12, for the two clubs’ Premiership clash.

George, who has been mascot for the Black Cats four times now, loves coming back to Wearside.

“I think we’ll be backwards and forwards from Sunderland during the Easter holidays,” said Emma.

“George keeps speaking in a Mackem accent at school now, his teacher is really confused.”