Pigeon owners race to help Sunderland mascot George Johnson

George with dad Neil at Wembley
George with dad Neil at Wembley
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A BIRD sale helped to raise more than £6,000 in aid of poorly youngster George Johnson.

Members of Plains Farm Workingmen’s Club organised a charity pigeon sale, which saw breeders from across the UK donating to the cause.

Guest of honour George, four, who has an undiagnosed gastro condition, attended with mum Emma, 32, dad Neil, 33, and sister Ava, five.

Grandad Ian Johnson, 58, of Pennywell, thanked event organiser Kevin Armstrong for helping to raise funds for Team George.

He said: “There has been a fantastic response. We are still counting the money.

“It would take too much space to thank everybody who helped – Plains Farm Club contributed too – but I would just like to thank everybody who contributed.”

Team George is raising money to help send the four-year-old to America for tests to diagnose his condition, which means his digestive system doesn’t work, and has to be fed through his heart.

The youngster has problems with his bowel due to his health problems. His small bowel is kept in a bag on the outside of his body. He also has to carry a bag which contains fluid, drained from his digestive system, in a backpack.

The happy youngster has stolen the heart of Wearsiders over the last few months, and received backing from Sunderland AFC, who have helped to raise more than £30,000, which will pay for George’s initial tests in the USA.

His dad and SAFC fan Neil, originally from Farringdon, has also had the honour of seeing his son be team mascot for the Black Cats four times.

George, who has had to miss school this week after taking ill, is due to be admitted to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital next week for an MRI scan, and possibly more tests.

Mum Emma, who gave up work to care for her son, said it’s a nerve-wracking time.

She said: “You just don’t know how long he is going to be in there.”

But she said the hospital admission means the family are one step closer to getting George to America.

She added: “Once we get him into hospital it means we can pin down his consultant and see if he has been in touch with the man in America, to give him a date when we can go.

“If not, hopefully we can push him do it. That is what the ultimate goal is, and the money people have raised is giving us the chance to do that.

“The £6,000 raised could be another big test once we get to the states.”