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Rays of Sunshine grants nine-year-old’s wish to have a football pitch in his garden unveiled by West Bromwich FC VIP


A seriously ill nine-year-old boy, from Castle Vale, Birmingham, had his greatest wish granted when he had a football-themed garden makeover and met his football Idol Craig Gardner, thanks to Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity, and Phoenix Lawns

Oliver, from Castle Vale, is currently living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic condition that causes severe, progressive muscle weakness, after being diagnosed in March 2008. Due to his condition, the young boy now struggles to walk great distances and is unable to climb the stairs, which inspired the wish for his very own football pitch in his garden. Oliver wanted to have his very own football pitch so he could play his favourite sport as much as possible with his brothers. Despite what he has been through, the young boy has remained brave and positive throughout and is a big fan of the Premier League football team West Bromwich Albion.

To make his greatest wish come true, Rays of Sunshine teamed up with local family-run business Phoenix Lawns to transform Oliver’s garden into his very own football pitch, complete with Astro Turf and football goals. To make his wish even more special, Keith Bick, manager of Phoenix Lawns, organised for Oliver’s favourite player, Craig Gardner, to officially unveil his new pitch, all to the surprise and delight of Oliver! The pair spent some time kicking the ball around, scoring some goals, before posing for photos and having a chat about all things football. The special day gave Oliver the chance to forget about his illness for a short while and to create some unforgettable memories.

After his wish, Oliver’s mother, Amanda, commented:

“It was truly magical day watching Oliver playing on his new football pitch and then for Craig Gardner to surprise us made it even more special. Oliver was in his element, he absolutely loved every minute of the afternoon and spent hours outside, virtually until bedtime! It will be so beneficial as it will enable us to keep him active and mobile for as long as we possibly can. Honestly, words cannot describe how grateful myself and Dave are for what you’ve done for Oliver we will be forever grateful to Rays of Sunshine and Phoenix Lawns.”


Jane Sharpe, CEO of Rays of Sunshine, commented:

“Every day of the year, Rays of Sunshine gives brave and deserving young people the chance to put their illness on hold and enjoy a moment of escape and Oliver’s wish was no exception. We’re so grateful to Pheonix Lawns who helped us transform Oliver’s garden into his very own football pitch and went the extra mile to organise a VIP unveiling with Craig Gardner. We’re sure this is a day Oliver and his family will never forget.”


Keith, of Phoenix Lawns, added:

The day was extremely emotional and it was hard to hold back the tears. To see a young lad whose life will be transformed by something that we take for granted is so special. It was two days of hard work but so worth it to enable Oliver to play his favourite game in his own garden. We would like to thank both Gardeners World, Sutton Coldfield and Paul McGowan Grab Hire for all of their help, free of charge.”