An exclusive, behind-the-scenes insight to the Blues players' training regime gave Thomas Watkins (pictured) a day to remember – and it’s all thanks to his big brother Saul.
Thomas is a fanatical Birmingham City supporter who has battled bravely to overcome the difficulties of having a growth disorder which has left him with short limbs. He was nominated for a special EZE Wish by Saul in recognition of the way he has overcome adversity and continued supporting the boys in Blue.
During his VIP visit to the Blues training facility at Wast Hills, Thomas, aged 21, was given an exclusive tour of the facilities and afterwards had lunch with a number of players from the first team squad and manager Lee Clark.
He also had the chance to collect players’ signatures on a limited edition Help Harry BCFC shirt, used in a game last season.
Thomas suffers from Acondraplacia, a condition where the marrow in his arms and legs fail to grow. From the age of seven he has had to undergo numerous painful operations to allow the marrow to knit between the two sections of the bones in his legs.
Commenting on the day, Saul said: “It was a dream come true for Thomas and we genuinely didn’t expect to be able to get so close to the players.
"Everybody was brilliant and the whole day was amazing. Thomas still has to stand on a stool to reach a biscuit from the cupboard, but this day was another milestone for him as he starts to feel his way into the big wide world."
Dominic O’Reilly, chief executive of EZE Group, added: “The whole idea of EZE Wishes is to put a smile on the face of fans like Thomas. We are really appreciative of the time Lee Clark and the players spent with him and are delighted it was such a memorable day for a really deserving supporter.”
EZE Wishes is an initiative from Blues diamond partners EZE Group and is designed to recognise and reward deserving fans who have overcome adversity, carried out voluntary work in the community and demonstrated outstanding support for the club.
To nominate a special Bluenose for their own EZE Wish, e-mail the details to firstname.lastname@example.org