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Blake's Blades dream becomes reality

20 October 2015

A five-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy has had his dream of walking out onto the Bramall Lane pitch made into a reality by Sheffield United.


Blake Yates, who spent almost two months in hospital following his birth in 2009, was pitchside on Saturday for Blades' 3-2 win over Rochdale, and even presented United goalkeeper Mark Howard with an award on his 100th appearance for the Club.


Blake also met his hero, Billy Sharp, after the game.


The young boy's family, many of whom were present at the game on Saturday, have been fundraising for a unique cause - Blake would love a specially-tailored bike to enable him to cycle unaided.


And with a fundraising event on Sunday at Brampton Raceway in Rotherham, the family have gathered almost £2,000 - which should be enough to buy Blake his bike for Christmas.


Jacqualine, Blake's grandmother, said: "It was an absolutely overwhelming day at Bramall Lane. I think we're still all coming down from the excitement of it all because it was such a whirlwind.


"Blake had a fantastic time, it all happened so fast that it's a bit of a blur! But being invited as guests by the club and being in the directors' box - it was all a priceless experience for us and for Blake.


"It was moving to see people in the concourse at half time asking about Blake as well - it was an emotional day all round."


Blake frequently visits Sheffield Children's Hospital, and after watching matches on TV and from the stands, and itching to step onto the Bramall Lane pitch, finally had his wish granted.


Following his day of stardom at Bramall Lane, Blake then travelled to Brampton Raceway on Sunday for the fundraising event - and despite the action-packed weekend was raring to go somewhere again on Monday, said Jacqualine.


And after a dizzy two days, the family have achieved their target of £1,900.


Dave McCarthy is Operations Director at Sheffield United, and coordinated Blake's hospitality at the game on Saturday. He said: "We were delighted to provide Blake with the chance to meet his heroes on Saturday and to treat his family as VIPs.


"Blake and the people close to him have been through an awful lot and it was our pleasure, as a community based Club, to give Blake and his family a day to remember.


"I'm thrilled to see how much Blake enjoyed his day on Saturday and I wish him and his family all the best in their project to enable Blake to be riding around on his own bike in the coming months."


Photo caption: Blake with his father, Jonathan, and Sheffield United goalkeeper Mark Howard before the Blades' 3-2 win against Rochdale; Blake with father Jonathan and Sheffield United mascot Captain Blade.


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