Top Cat Alfie meets hero Mannone
Vito surprises luekaemia-battling youngster
Date published: 22nd Match 2017
A football-mad youngster who is battling leukaemia saw his dreams come true when he met Sunderand AFC goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Greenland Primary School pupil Alfie received a surprise visit from the Italian after his classmates were named March's Top Cat winners in recognition of their support of the five-year-old since he was diagnosed last year.
The Black Cats stopper, joined by club legend Kevin Ball, spent time talking with Alfie and his parents, presenting the starry-eyed fan with a pair of signed gloves and SAFC goalkeeper shirt.
I heard he's one of my biggest fans. I'm honoured to be here to meet him and his parents and being in the school see all the people who are helping him through his illness.
I brought him a little present – some gloves and a shirt – and I hope they will cheer him up.
The class were nominated for the Top Cat award following a school football day in November hosted by the Foundation which raised over £1,400 for the charity and Newcastle RVI where Alfie is receiving treatment.
The event saw pupils don fancy dress or the colours of their favourite football team and take part in fun football-themed competitions including a penalty shoot-out and the Foundation's Speed Cage.
Alfie's mother, Emma, added: "We're obviously very happy about it. We would like to thank the school, Sunderland AFC and Foundation of Light for all the work they have done with Alfie.
"He's been through a lot, but he's getting there and doing really well. He loves football and he's really enjoyed today."
Mr Armstrong, Deputy Head at Greenland School, said: "The boys and girls worked so hard to raise the money and to see this for happen for Alfie today and the pupils of Greenland is an absolute privilege and a pleasure."
Michael Armstrong, Foundation of Light Informal Educator, commented: "We've been working in the school for a while now and have a great relationship with the staff and pupils.
"When we heard about Alfie's situation and the fundraising that his friends had done we felt only right to try and do something special."
To find out how Foundation of Light's sports and education programmes can enhance your schools' curriculum and for fundraising ideas, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 5515316.