Oscar's role on Rovers' big day
A BOY who has just learned to walk independently was given the honour of leading the Bristol Rovers team on to the pitch for what turned out to be one of the most important games in their history.
Football-mad Oscar Cridge, five, from Barrs Court, has cerebral palsy and until recently could only get around with a walking frame or in a wheelchair.
Oscar had surgery on his spine in January to help him walk independently. Because the necessary operation wasn’t available on the NHS, his parents had to fundraise more than £60,000 to pay for the procedure and aftercare.
He is surpassing expectations around post-operative recovery and can already stand on flat feet rather than tip toes, and walk short distances unaided. He is back at Emerson’s Green primary school, when he is not travelling for specialist physio sessions.
His father, Shaun, said: “We were expecting it to take six months for him to get back to the range of movement he had before the operation, then start to build on that.
“He’s already got more movement than before and can kick a football around without a frame, which is what he’s always dreamed of doing.
“On the day of the match everyone was so welcoming. He got to meet the players and was given a signed shirt.
“When he walked out onto the pitch everyone was chanting his name and it gave him a huge confidence boost. It was quite a long way for him to walk but he managed it without any help.”
The match proved to be a sensational one to be part of, with Rovers beating Scunthorpe United 7-0 and securing automatic promotion into League One.
Afterwards charity singer Daz, who has raised much of the money used to pay for Oscar’s operation and aftercare, performed on the Fanzone stage.
Oscar joined him on the platform to sing “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John, taking the microphone to belt out the chorus.
He is also able to dance and tap his feet since the operation, so was able to get into the spirit of the post-match party.
Shaun said: “It was such an emotional experience. It’s a day that none of us will ever forget.”