A girl’s dreams came true when she met a host of A-list celebrities and ex-professional footballers while leading out the teams at Unicef’s Soccer Aid charity football match on Sunday.
Kate Parker, 10, was nominated as a mascot for the biennial game by her aunt, Christina Royal, whose Robbie Williams Fansites United group raised the most money in a Unicef appeal.
Dressed in her special Soccer Aid kit, the Newton youngster walked out alongside celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay, Will Ferrell and Robbie himself, as well as football stars including Clarence Seedorf, Teddy Sheringham and Roy Keane.
“I was very excited,” said Kate, who is in Year Five at Stoke-By-Nayland Middle School. “There were loads of people there.
“I was talking to Robbie when I was in the tunnel and he asked where I came from and how I got to be a mascot. He was nice.”
Kate travelled to the game with her mum and dad, Jo and Lee, and older brother George, 13.
Despite a crowd of 70,000 at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium and a television audience of around six million, Kate stayed calm throughout the big match, which was won 3-1 by Robbie’s England side and raised £4million for the world’s poorest children.
“I got autographs from Robbie, Olly Murs, Mike Myers and John Bishop,” she said. “I wasn’t scared really, just excited.”
Mrs Royal, a big Robbie Williams fan from York Road in Sudbury, set up Robbie Williams Fansites United in 2008 with Geraldine Knott, who she met on the internet, to help support Unicef, of which Robbie is a patron.
The group, which invites fansite members from across the world to donate money for good causes, has gone on to raise £10,000 for Unicef, British Heart Foundation, Comic Relief and Treetops hospice for terminally ill children in Stoke on Trent, with the help of fellow fans Susan Crooks and Amanda Bail.
This year’s effort raised the most money for Unicef’s Keep It Up For Soccer Aid initiative with £480, which has since grown to more than £1,300, earning them an extra special prize.
“I got this email completely out of the blue, saying we had won the chance to nominate a child to be mascot at Soccer Aid,” said Mrs Royal. “My niece is a fan of Olly Murs, so I didn’t have any hesitation in putting her forward.”
q To make a donation to Mrs Royal’s Unicef appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/rwfu4socceraid12.
SOCCER AID: Kate Parker, 10, was chosen to be a mascot for celebrity charity football match Soccer Aid after her name was put forward by her aunt, Christine Royal. She also met Robbie Williams.