Bolton-on-Dearne boy meets Bramall Lane favourites

Blake Yateswith his father, Jonathan, and Sheffield United goalkeeper Mark Howard
Blake Yateswith his father, Jonathan, and Sheffield United goalkeeper Mark Howard

A Dearne Valley youngster met his footballing heroes after being invited to Bramall Lane as a guest of honour.

Blake Yates, aged five, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was pitchside for Sheffield United’s 3-2 win over Rochdale earlier this month and presented goalkeeper Mark Howard with an award to make his 100th appearance.

The youngster also met his hero, Billy Sharp, after the game.

Blake Yates, from Bolton-on-Dearne, who spent almost two months in hospital following his birth in 2009, has been fundraising for a specialist bike to enable him to ride unaided.

The day after Blake’s Bramall Lane treat he took part in a fundraising event at Brampton Raceway, raising enough to buy the youngster the bike for Christmas.

Blake’s grandmother, Jacqualine, 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 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.”

Dave McCarthy, Operations Director at Sheffield United, 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.”