Isabella’s trip to Newcastle

As a big Newcastle fan, one thing I always wanted to do with Isabella was to take her to St James’s Park to watch a football match. This was something I had thought we would do when she was much older when she would understand the passion that comes with watching a game. So with Isabella’s life being cut short by the horrendous disease that is Tay-Sachs, I decided that we needed to get to see a game sooner rather than later.

Isabella’s mum Deborah is very good at organising our trips and made a phone call to the club to arrange it, she spoke to a very nice lady in the corporate hospitably department who arranged for us to go to the last game of the season which was against Arsenal. She also said that if we sent her Isabella’s football shirt she would get the team to sign it.

Due to the distance from our home in Thetford to Newcastle which is nearly 400 miles we decided to turn the trip into a short break. We travelled up to Newcastle on the day before the game and settled ourselves into a hotel in the city centre just 5 minutes from the ground. On the day of the match we spent the morning taking Isabella to some of the sights of Newcastle including the iconic Tyne Bridge and over the Millennium Bridge to Gateshead. After spending the morning sightseeing it was time to go back to the hotel to get ready to go to the ground.

On arriving at the ground we were shown to the suite where we were to have a meal before the game along with a pre- match question and answer session with ex Newcastle player John Beresford. With 10 minutes to go before kickoff we were shown to our seats to watch the game, the atmosphere and noise of 53,000 people was unbelievable and something that Isabella certainly was aware of.

Our seats were next to the player’s box so we had numerous players who were not playing that day sat near to us so we had some photo opportunities as well. The game was good with Newcastle having most of the play; unfortunately Arsenal scored the only goal of the game. At the end of the match our hostess came to collect us and took us back to the suite for a further question and answer session about the game. It also gave us the opportunity to say farewell to some wonderful people that we had met over dinner.

The following day we left Newcastle and headed home with lots of new memories of Isabella’s first trip to Newcastle. The whole experience was fantastic and I wouldn’t change anything about it (ok maybe the score). Without the support of the CATS Foundation who provided the funds for our hotel accommodation we properly would not have been able to make these memories. So a big thank to everyone who has supported the CATS Foundation over the past 2 years.

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