News

Wooden Spoon young supporter is mascot for Barbarians

A YOUNG Tonbridge schoolboy got the opportunity of a lifetime when he walked onto the hallowed turf of Twickenham as a matchday mascot for the clash between England and the Barbarians.

Six-year-old Ted Mitchell, who has the same kidney disorder that the late Jonah Lomu suffered with for 20 years, walked out with Barbarians for their game last Sunday, with the experience made possible by Wooden Spoon – the children’s rugby charity.

Investment management firm Killik & Co, who sponsor the Baa-Baas, supported Wooden Spoon and enabled Ted, his mum and dad Anna and Neil, and eight-year-old sister Daisy, from Tonbridge in Kent, to share in his special day at Rugby HQ.

“It was very good. It was very loud and fun,” said Ted.

“I held hands with Yann David. It was nerve-wracking and quite loud, but I enjoyed it.

“I’m going to tell my teacher that I saw lots of favourite players and people.

“This will be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Ted has steroid-resistant focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), which causes nephrotic syndrome and means that his kidneys do not filter his blood correctly. Other symptoms include fluid retention and high blood pressure.

The youngster, who plays for Tonbridge Juddians U7s and goes to Slade School, may need a kidney transplant in later life and has required steroids and immune-suppressants since he was 16 months old to manage his condition, which he takes responsibility for himself.

To support Ted, a number of Barbarians players, including South African international Schalk Brits, wore Wooden Spoon socks against England – the first time this has ever happened at Twickenham.

“I’ve always heard about the great work Wooden Spoon does, and I heard about Ted being a mascot [on Sunday] and I just wanted to get involved,” said the 36-year-old Saracens hooker.

“Any way we can raise funds or awareness is great.

“We’re just a very small part of it. The credit must go to Wooden Spoon and everyone that’s actually contributed – not the players.

“We’re just trying to create awareness and everyone out there: please donate. There’s not just Ted but there’s a lot of kids that need help and even if it’s a pound, just contribute – thank you.”

Wooden Spoon fund life-changing projects across the UK and Ireland to support children facing disadvantage or children with disabilities like Ted.

Ian Lindsay, Wooden Spoon’s head of business development, added: “Obviously, we look for as many people to support us as they can.

“It’s absolutely fantastic and there are some players there that will be lifelong supporters of Wooden Spoon.

“We are a national charity made up of 40 different regions. Kent, where I started, as an example; all the money that’s raised in Kent is spent in Kent.

“We’re a very transparent charity. You can go and see the work that we do with the money that you raise – local funds for local projects.

“We have a tremendous footprint in the UK and Ireland and we gift, on average, 70 projects a year that wouldn’t happen without our support, and our support wouldn’t happen without the likes of Killik & Co.”

To find out more about how you can support Wooden Spoon click here.