Children who lost their possessions following a devastating house fire cannot stop smiling after being given the surprise of a lifetime by Peterborough United.
Declan Shaw (6) and brother Noah (5) got to meet the Posh players ahead of last Saturday’s home match against Port Vale, and they both received lots of signed merchandise including the shirt midfielder Jon Taylor wore in the FA Cup clash against Premier League side West Brom.
Declan had lost his treasured football - signed by some Posh players - in the fire on January 25 which also sadly took the life of the family dog Dudley, a nine-month-old Patterjack.
It has been a tough time for Declan, Noah, mum Charlene (27) and dad Ian (50) who have had to throw away all their belongings damaged in their home in East Delph, Whittlesey, before temporarily moving into Charlene’s grandfather’s two bedroom property.
But things are starting to look up after a memorable day at the ABAX Stadium in London Road thanks to community helper Colin Martin who got in touch with the club.
Charlene said: “We never expected to get half of what we got. We were given match tickets, tickets to go into a suite. We met the players and they gave us a bag with hoodies in. We got footballs used in the match. Jon Taylor gave his FA Cup shirt and Noah got Martin Samuelsen’s shirt.
“Jon gave Declan a pair of his football boots as well and signed them and we had signed programmes.”
The family also got to pose for photographs with the players and meet Posh assistant manager and club legend Grant McCann before the match which ended 3-2 to Vale.
Charlene said: “We can’t thank him enough, he was just brilliant. The club made us all really welcome and I’m really grateful to them.
“Just to see the look on the kids’ faces was lovely. They thoroughly enjoyed it and it was nice to see them smile.
“They are still excited from Saturday and just can’t stop talking about it. We are hopefully moving back at the weekend and they seem a bit more relaxed and chilled.”
According to Charlene no definite cause has been given for the fire, but she is looking forward to returning to the family’s renovated home.
She added: “It will be when we go home that we realise that the dog will be gone. That’s the hardest thing for the boys. I think Saturday is what they needed.”
Grant said: “The kids had lost all of their Peterborough United merchandise and seeing things like that really brings it home how lucky you are to be working at this club. I wanted to give the boys a special day.
“I know that the family are all big Posh fans as well and I hope that the gesture was able to brighten their day up during recent difficult circumstances.”