Mascot experience for brave family
Young Jamie Aston was all set to be a mascot for England against France at Wembley last November, until the terrorist atrocities saw a major increase in security to ensure the game passed without incident.
Jamie’s Mom Joanne is courageously battling secondary breast cancer, and just didn’t feel up to allowing Jamie to go along to Wembley and go through all the security arrangements that the evening would have entailed.
Joanne has done some pretty amazing work to fundraise to help others since receiving her diagnosis.
But more than anything she wanted to try and make it up to Jamie, and her husband Stephen, for missing out on the England experience.
Here she takes up the story.
“Jamie was asked to be a mascot for the England/France game,” Joanne explains.
“But unfortunately, with the atrocities that happened in Paris, I didn’t want Jamie to be under armed guard for a few hours before the match without me.
“I asked Wolves whether they would be able to help me out as I had let my husband Stephen down for the game as well.
“He is a big Wolves fan, as is Stephen as well.
“And Wolves have fulfilled our wish – and gone even better than that, giving Jamie a mascot place for the game against Bristol City.
“Jamie has been very excited and the whole class and the whole school!
“There were about 570 who wanted to come along to the game!”
So it was that Wolves invited Jamie, Mum and Dad, and also Jamie’s Grandad Brian, to travel up from their home in Maidstone, enjoy an overnight stay in a hotel and seats in an Executive Box but, most importantly of course, see Jamie as mascot joining his favourite player Danny Batth in leading the team out for the game.
Jamie met all the players and Head Coach Kenny Jackett in the dressing room before kick off, and also took part in a skills session pitchside with Wolfie and Wendy, which Mum got involved in as well!
It was the least the club could do for Joanne and her Wolves-supporting family (Steve lived in Wolverhampton until he was 15), particularly as her own selfless work has helped raise thousands of pounds for charity.
“I have secondary breast cancer, and it is incurable,” says Joanne.
“There are lots of us ladies of all different ages who have children, and we are all suffering from the disease.
“I do fundraising for a fantastic charity called Breast Cancer Kent.
“Every penny raised goes to buy equipment or support women in Kent who are suffering from Breast Cancer, and we have bought some amazing equipment that the National Health Service cannot afford.
“I have done wingwalking, a friend of mine is running every day in March, we have staged balls, discos, teddy bear picnics.
“We managed to raise £144,000 in the first year.
“I would encourage anyone who wants to help to try and get involved, at your local hospital.
“And if you know of anyone that has been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, don’t ignore them.
“Offer them practical support, even if it is just to come around and make a cup od tea or do some ironing.
“That is all we need – we just want to know we are still a person.”
The family, missing only young daughter Sophie who stayed at home, certainly enjoyed their night at Molineux, crowned in perfect fashion when Matt Doherty headed home an injury time winner to seal a 2-1 win.
It wasn’t quite the 2,000-0 result predicted by Jamie before the game, but still three points all the same!
But in essence the result of a football match probably didn't matter too much.
“It is an amazing moment, one of those thing that you just can’t buy – it is priceless,” Joanne explained.
“For me, it means so much.
“This, to me, is particularly special because it is something I won’t see my son do when he is older.
“To see this for me is important but it will give Jamie a loving memory to remember his Mum by.
“When you get diagnosed with something like this, the only thing you have left is your memories, and I wanted to have something I could leave behind.
“I want my children to know that any dream you have you can achieve.
“This is my son’s dream, and we have achieved it.”