A THREE-yEAR-OLD boy has struck up an unlikely friendship with his namesake, Barnsley Football Club centre-back Alfie Mawson, while recovering from brain surgery at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Big Alfie and Little Aflie, as they have come to be known, have developed such a good bond that Big Alfie has popped in to the ward to play table football - with Little Alfie winning ten-nil.
Little Alfie, aka Alfie Ledgeway from Barnsley, has been in and out of hospital since the age of two, undergoing more than 10 operations to treat chiari malformation, a spinal chord cavity, and a failed kidney. This has left him with co-ordination problems as well as a host of other symptoms which stop him having a normal childhood, but the Barnsley-mad youngster remains cheerful, especially when Big Alfie visits.
The pair first met when little Alfie was a match day mascot at Oakwell, and he has been invited back to the club for his birthday.
Alfie’s grandmother, Hayley Ledgeway said Mr Mawson’s support allows Alfie to do things “that any other little boy can, without feeling different.”
She added: “Him and the rest of the team just treat Alfie like one of the lads.”
Mr Mawson said: “Us Alfies have to stick together, and it’s clear he’s a fighter. He loves the club and he’s having a tough time - it doesn’t cost anything to check on how he’s doing, and he obviously enjoys beating me, so why not?”