Bradley Lowery set for VIP day to remember when Sunderland AFC face Hull City
Battling Bradley Lowery is set for a dream day out when his beloved Black Cats take on relegation rivals Hull.
Keith Brown and Dan Utley, from Harrogate, have pulled out all the stops to guarantee the Blackhall youngster a day to remember when Sunderland head for the KC Stadium on Saturday, May 6.
Train driver Keith and businessman Dan have laid on Ferrari and limousine rides and even a spot in a train driver’s cabin when Bradley travels to and from the match.
Keith originally contacted Hull City to secure a special day out for the five-year-old and his family as guests of the club, but didn’t just stop there.
Through his employers at Northern Rail he secured free travel and a spot in the driver’s cabin alongside himself.
“I have friends who know Bradley and his family and I knew the club would want to help out,” he said.
“I was just driving one day and I thought what if I could just get him to Hull? That would be enough and it wouldn’t hurt just to ask.
“But when I did ask the question people kept saying yes, I am even having to turn offers down because they just won’t have the time in their schedule on the day.
Bradley will travel from Sunderland to York courtesy of train operator Grand Central, then to Hull with Northern Rail before completing the journey to the ground by Ferrari.
“I got in touch with Northern Rail and asked if he could come into the cab, as it takes a lot of authorization for this to happen,” said Keith.
“But they did it and he will be sitting next to me taking it all in.
“The driver’s view is completely different, its second nature to me now but I remember how completely different it looked the first time, like you are stepping into the cockpit of a fighter plane.”
And after talking to Dan, the day took another generous turn when he offered to cover the costs of a limousine ride from Hull back to York.
“Now Dan is not a football fan and I would consider him a good friend but I did not expect this from him, it is a cracking gesture,” said Keith.
The pair hit on the idea of a limousine back to York to avoid Bradley getting caught up in the post-match crowds: “When we came up with the idea, Dan agreed to pay for the limousine straight away and the limousine company agreed to do it,” said Keith.
Posting the idea online on the Hull City Facebook page Keith was contacted by taxi driver Darren Beckitt who directed him to city firm called Stretchmarks, as well as offering to pick Bradley up from the station and ferry him to the ground in his own Ferrari.
Stretchmarks, owned by Mark Birtles, will be taking Bradley back to York at a discounted rate thanks to Dan: “I had done some work for Keith and he mentioned that he was fund raising for this little lad and I wanted to contribute by paying for the limousine for him and his family,” he said.
“I just hope and pray that he is well enough to go and enjoy the game, I really feel for him. No words can put it right but I hope this will help.
“Keith has pulled out all the stops and after he asked me I just wanted to get on board and do my bit.”
If Bradley is too unwell to travel to the game Mr Brown has added that the day out will be given to another child at hospital with him.