A schoolboy who’s defied a rare heart condition to become a singing sensation is set to get derby day fans on their feet.
Tom Smith, 11, from East Rainton, will perform at the Fan Zone at this Sunday’s clash at the Stadium of Light.
It’s a dream come true for the Houghton Kepier School pupil whose passion for music is only matched by his love of the Black Cats.
Tom was born with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, which means the left side of his heart is severely underdeveloped.
However, he has never let it stand in the way of chasing his dreams.
Despite, his young age, he’s performed with the likes of chart-topper James Bay, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Hyde & Beast and Frankie & the Heartstrings, and taken to the stage at festivals including Glastonbury, T in the Park and Corbridge.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are so impressed by Tom’s talent, they asked him to support them at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. The promising singer and guitarist also uses his music to help charity Little Hearts Matter, which has supported the youngster through several lifesaving operations.
Dad Andrew, who runs car dealership TRG Houghton, said: “He’s absolutely buzzing. He’s seen it’s really busy at the Fan Zone and hopefully if we get a result the atmosphere will be amazing.
“He’s already a season ticket holder, so even though he’s played at some fantastic venues, this one is extra special. Plus his friends get to see him play.”
Tom will perform at the new Fan Zone after Sunday’s match, while fellow local act Social Room will take to the stage before the derby.
Following a European and American model, the Fan Zone opened at the Stadium of Light at the beginning of this season.
Featuring a huge screen, music stage, bar, mini-football pitch and a merchandise shop, the site has space for up to 6,000 supporters on match days.
Over the past few months, a host of local acts have taken to the Fan Zone stage.