Amble brain tumour boy Brandon Ballance meets NUFC heroes

BRAIN tumour patient Brandon Ballance was given star treatment as a special guest of honour of Newcastle United.

Brain tumour patient Brandon Ballance with Newcastle United's Tim Krull, Davide Santon and Danny Simpson

BRAIN tumour patient Brandon Ballance was given star treatment as a special guest of honour of Newcastle United.

The nine-year-old cancer sufferer was invited to watch his heroes train at the club’s ground in Benton, North Tyneside.

Football fanatic Brandon, from Amble, in Northumberland, has been battling an inoperable brain tumour for the past seven years.

His day began with meeting first team players and the club’s management for a pre-training breakfast.

He was then taken on a guided tour of the facility by reserve team manager Willie Donachie and later met United boss Alan Pardew in his office.

Brandon also posed for photographs with players before watching them undergo a rigorous training session conducted by first team coach John Carver.

Alan Pardew later joined Brandon at a coffee break and invited his family to stay for lunch with football legend Peter Beardsley and United’s first team players.

Trident Soccer FA coach Ryan Jobson arranged the visit with United’s hierarchy and brought Brandon and his family to the Benton facility.

Mr Jobson said: “I’d like to thank Newcastle United for providing Brandon with such a special day.

“He’s been through such a lot at his age and continues to smile and take each day as it comes. He’s a true inspiration.”

Brandon was diagnosed with a brain tumour on his brain-stem when he was just two and has endured rigorous chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, with weekly hospital visits.

His mother Sarah Nicholson said: “This was the most amazing day. It’s incredibly hard to describe as we’re all overwhelmed with the experience.

“I’d like to thank the manager, players and staff; they have been absolutely fantastic. “Everyone was so generous with their time and made a lot of Brandon.

“It’s a day he’ll never forget.”

Earlier this year Brandon travelled to America to swim with dolphins after people in Amble and the surrounding area raised more than £17,000 to fund the trip.

The family stayed in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in Orlando, Florida, for two weeks. Brandon was also whisked off on a VIP safari trip, met Mickey Mouse and watched a fireworks display and parade while there.

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David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer