Published: 00:00, 13 May 2017 |
Updated: 10:20, 16 May 2017
An Arsenal fan’s FA Cup final dream is set to come true as he takes time out from treatment for a brain tumour to watch his team play at Wembley.
Lifelong gooner Charlie Middleton, from Tonbridge, will meet players ahead of their trophy clash with rivals Chelsea later this month after being invited by Gunners star Mesut Ozil.
Following a children’s cancer charity’s challenge to make his wish achievable the 11-year-old was also invited by the German international to the next home game against Sunderland.
Gillingham resident Anita Marinelli, founder of My Shining Star, set up a Facebook campaign after obtaining permission from Charlie’s mum.
The 35-year-old juggles her day job as a nursery worker with the charity and admitted the hard work was worth it when she made a breakthrough.
The mother-of-two, of Chaffes Lane, Upchurch, got in touch with Charlie’s mother Jo Pearson to help.
She said: “His mum didn’t think it would happen. She wasn’t able to get a response from Arsenal and wasn’t expecting anything at all.
“The Facebook post was shared hundreds of times.
“I tried the FA last week who said they have had a lot of requests and that they have 28,000 tickets on sale but there are 44,000 Arsenal season ticket holders.
“I phoned Arsenal and Chelsea and Wembley itself but I hit a brick wall. I thought I have to just go through social media because there is no way this little boy is not going to get his tickets.”
Now Charlie will make the fixture between Arsenal and Chelsea in the final of England’s biggest cup competition on Saturday, May 27.
Anita said: “I had Spurs fans offering to give up their tickets to games for him.
“I started tweeting players and Petr Cech responded to say the club was dealing with it.” Charlie’s mum the received a phone call from Arsenal who told her the phone system had crashed because of the amount of people calling them about Charlie.
Miss Marinelli added: “Charlie has been invited to every home game and to Ozil’s box and he will meet the players before the game.
“I am so thankful for the response we have had with so many people willing to give up their tickets.”
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