Dream come true for young Six Nations mascot
PUBLISHED: 08:28 19 March 2015 | UPDATED: 08:45 20 March 2015
A young boy will be the envy of rugby fans across England on Saturday when he leads the national team on to the pitch at Twickenham.
Ten-year-old Jack Blackham, from Brooke, won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after his father entered him into a prize draw in a national newspaper to become mascot for the day.
The avid rugby fan, who started playing for Wymondham Rugby Club at the age of five, is now eagerly learning the words for the National Anthem ahead of his moment of glory in front of a packed stadium and millions of viewers around the world.
His father, Robert Blackham, said: “The feeling of walking out on to the pitch in front of 80,000 fans – it is going to be extraordinary for him.”
As part of his prize, Jack will be kitted out in the England strip before walking out with the captain and standing alongside his heroes as they sing the National Anthem.
He will then join his parents in the stands to watch what promises to be a fitting finale to the end of the Rugby Union Six Nations Championships.
Mr Blackham said: “I saw the competition and thought ‘I know who would love to do that’ and sent off the form and forgot about it.
“Then last week we got a letter saying ‘Congratulations. Jack has won’.
“We didn’t tell him straight away in case it was a wind up, but then we heard from the RFU and we told him while he was watching the Six Nations match against Scotland last weekend.”
Jack, whose first reaction to winning the coveted prize was “wow”, said: “I am looking forward to meeting the team and Chris Robshaw, the captain. I can’t believe it.”
The youngster, who goes to a school in Norwich, is never happier than when he is kicking a rugby ball about and trains with his club every Sunday and also captains his school rugby team.
Mr Blackham said: “He loves it. When he comes home from school he is straight out in the garden kicking the ball about and I am always finding faded rugby balls all over the garden.
“He has worked his way up through the age groups at the club - Wymondham has a great junior section and a great head coach.”
The family plan to make the most of their day at the home to England rugby and will visit the World Rugby Museum before settling down to watch the match.
Mr Blackham said: “It is the last of the games this year for England – it is theirs for the taking and it would be fantastic to see them pick up the trophy.”