Neighbour’s surprise for ill football fan

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A 57-year-old Altofts man diagnosed with terminal cancer was granted one of his lifelong wishes thanks to a surprise from his kind-hearted neighbour.

Eric Cartwright, of Windross Close, received a “real pick-me-up” when his neighbour Nigel Dyson treated him to a behind-the-scenes tour of Leeds United’s Elland Road stadium.

Mr Cartwright said: “I have been a massive fan of Leeds United since I was 12.

“I used to attend every match back in the day but find it harder to nowadays.

“I remember going when I was much younger and saying to one of my mates ‘I will walk down that tunnel one day’.

“So it was a complete shock when Nigel came round one day and said he had a surprise for me.

“Unbeknown to me, he had done a lot of hard work organising a brilliant treat to see the Leeds United versus Bolton Wanderers game, a tour of the Elland Road stadium and a chance to walk through the players’ tunnel.

“I am incredibly grateful that Nigel arranged the trip.

“He was brilliant, the Leeds United staff were fantastic and the experience was amazing and something not many fans get to see.”

Mr Cartwright’s wife, Lynne, 43, was let in on the secret arrangements and had to keep quiet for nearly four months beforehand.

She said: “It was the hardest thing I had to do, and I nearly slipped up a few times. But Eric couldn’t believe it at all when the surprise was revealed.”

Mr Cartwright was first diagnosed with colon cancer last year but was told a few months ago that it had spread and is no longer undergoing treatment.

“Being diagnosed with cancer was a huge shock and completely out of the blue, especially when I was fully fit and healthy.

“Then to be told it had spread and is terminal, well it’s hard. Nigel’s surprise was a real pick-me-up. He granted one of my wishes.”

Mr Cartwright will also be receiving a signed team photograph.