A disabled youngster from Aylesbury got to meet his rugby heroes when he was chosen to be a mascot for London Irish at Twickenham over the weekend.
Nine year old Sam Acres, who suffers from spina bifida, was selected by developer Crest Nicholson to be their first ever mascot following the recent signing of their sponsorship deal with London Irish.
Supporting the team at a Twickenham double header on Saturday, Sam met a number of the stars and cheered the team on from the sidelines as they ran out on to the pitch, to great fanfare from the 62,637 strong crowd.
Sam was also presented with his own London Irish rugby kit.
As supporters of Variety, the Children’s Charity, Crest Nicholson had previously raised funds to buy Sam a state of the art wheelchair and, as a major rugby fan, the house builder felt that he would make the perfect ambassador.
Sam, who goes to school at the Pace Centre in Aylesbury, was overjoyed when asked to be the mascot.
“I was so excited when I found out that I would be going to Twickenham and meeting my favourite rugby players,” he said.
“I’ve been to lots of rugby games before, but this felt like a really special treat and is definitely something that I’ll remember for a very long time!”
Mike Haszko, head of corporate fundraising at Variety, said: “Being just about the biggest rugby fan around, Sam was the ideal candidate for this very important ambassadorial role at the London Double Header.
“We’re very grateful to Crest Nicholson for their support of Sam and continuing support of Variety’s work and wish them every success with their sponsorship of London Irish.”
Helen Saunders, group marketing director at Crest Nicholson said Sam was the perfect choice.
“We recently raised money for a new wheelchair for Sam so were aware of just how much Sam loved rugby, which made him an obvious choice of mascot. Sam was an excellent ambassador for us and we’re glad he enjoyed the experience.”