Brave Hevingham toddler Jay Goodman wins over the crowd as mascot at Carrow Road
- Credit: Archant
Carrow Road played host to a very special mascot this week, as two-year-old Jay Goodman, from Hevingham - who is battling an aggressive brain tumour - took to the pitch with his father.
Jay was diagnosed with the tumour in March last year, when he was just 16 months old.
The heartbreaking news was a bitter blow to parents Mark and Karen and their four other children - Joshua, 12, Reece, nine, George, six, and Maddie, four.
While throwing all of their energy into supporting the little fighter's year-long battle to survive, Mr and Mrs Goodman are juggling work and the everyday reality of family life: school runs, shopping and more. But help and support has come from an old-fashioned source - the local community.
And this week, Jay was treated to a trip to the home of Norwich City football Club, where he became mascot for the University Of East Anglia Football Club (UEAFC) at the Norfolk Junior Cup Final.
You may also want to watch:
Michael Derbyshire, head of football at UEA, said: 'I saw the story about Jay and asked the lads if we should have him as our mascot. Their unanimous response was - 'yes'.
MORE: Hevingham community rallies to help family of Jay Goodman, two, as he fights aggressive brain tumour'As soon as we met Jay, all of us at UEA FC fell in love with him. What a courageous little man.
- 1 'It's not even that short' - schoolboy, 14, put in isolation due to haircut
- 2 Ex-head charged with sex attacks on boys at Norfolk school
- 3 'Someone will get hurt' - Frustration over pothole near Norwich surgery
- 4 Travellers camped at garden centre car park
- 5 Holidaymakers rescued after boat lodged under bridge
- 6 Part of A47 closed after concerns for woman’s welfare
- 7 Photo shows car inches from knocking cyclist off road
- 8 Norwich City drop huge hint of global star gig at Carrow Road
- 9 Tattoo studio owner fined after refusing to close in lockdown
- 10 Hotel's new pizza restaurant enjoys 'fantastic' first month
'It was lovely to meet Jay's dad, Mark, godmother, Jenny Burrell and the other family members too. And they were well looked after by all the Norfolk FA and Norwich City FC staff.
'Mark and Jay were bought into our home dressing room before the game to experience the changing area also used by the family's favourite Norwich City FC players. Then, Jay was carried out onto the pitch by his dad alongside our UEA lads for the pre-match presentation. And although the result was a secondary factor in many ways, I am nevertheless delighted that we at UEA FC won the final 4-0 for our brave mascot.
'Jay was presented with a winner's medal at the end, which was a lovely touch.'
Mrs Burrell added: 'It was so lovely for my daughter Elisha and Jay's brothers Josh and Reece to also be a part of it. Reece had never seen a full-sized football pitch before so his expression was amazing when I first took them out to see it. Everyone was so welcoming towards us and Jay managed to win everyone over with his grin and cheekiness.
'He really loved the game and kept pointing at the ball and loved it when everyone clapped and cheered and joined in. He even managed a little victory dance after one of the goals!
MORE: More than £3,000 raised at Star Day for Hevingham toddler Jay Goodman'It was really touching at the end of the match when Jay was awarded with a winners medal. It really touched Mark as Mike Banham, the man who presented Jay with the medal, explained it had been his mother's funeral that day, she'd died of cancer, and he wanted to give something to Jay to remember the evening that he'd shared with them.
'Through their tears the men had a moment together before Jay and Mark then got sprayed with champagne, very touching.
'Elisha, Josh and Reece were buzzing all the way home reliving parts of the evening and couldn't wait to get to school the next day to tell all their friends and teachers about their experience.'
• To follow Jay's progress search 'Jay's Journey' on Facebook.
• To donate, click here.