Sprowston heart surgery survivor meets hero, Norwich City manager Alex Neil

Norwich City hold an open training day at Carrow Road for the fans and where the players and staff w

Norwich City hold an open training day at Carrow Road for the fans and where the players and staff were joined by disabled youngsters, including recent open heart operation patient Tom Shingfield who met his hero, manager Alex Neil. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

It is a moment that City fan Tom Shingfield will remember for the rest of his life.

Just weeks after undergoing life-saving heart surgery, he was invited down to Carrow Road to meet his hero, City manager Alex Neil.

The 21-year-old, who has Down's syndrome, was one of several young footballers with disabilities given the chance to meet Norwich City's first team yesterday during their open training session.

And while he was unable to play with the squad due to the operation, he received a signed autograph book and met some of his favourite players.

Tom, who lives in Sprowston, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a condition which affects four different areas of the heart.

It left him needing vital surgery at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London last month to save his life.

But four weeks later and the former City College student is now on the road to recovery with hopes to play football again.

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Mum Karen, 49, said: 'Meeting the team was lovely for Tom and he was beaming when he came off the pitch. He was so pleased to meet Alex.

'I was so proud of him and all of the kids there, because they had so many challenges in their lives.'

Tom, who plays football with a Down's syndrome squad based at Wensum Lodge, endured ten days in hospital in July.

During that time he suffered asthma attacks, a collapsed lung and congestive heart failure, before going in for surgery.

Mrs Shingfield said: 'Those five hours while he was in surgery were so stressful. It is every parent's worst nightmare.

'When the sedation was reduced, he used sign language to say 'I love you' to me and my husband, and 'thank you' to the doctors and nurses.

'Everyone in the room was in tears. But they saved his life and we are so indebted to them.'

Have you made a remarkable recovery from surgery? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684

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