A Catering and Hospitality student from Dearne Valley College had his dreams come true recently, when he was invited to a VIP tour of Barnsley Football Club.
The surprise, organised by Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, came after 16-year-old David Sweetman, who is a life-long Barnsley fan, seemed to make an impression on the championship club’s Chief Executive, Ben Mansford at a Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber Executive Lunch event hosted by Dearne Valley College.
As part of his course, David was helping to provide the lunch and hospitality for the event, and when David realised that the guest speaker was none other than Mr Mansford, he halted his service to take the opportunity to have a chat and a picture with the Chief Executive.
Following the event, the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber kindly organised the surprise for David, who couldn’t believe his luck when he was invited to visit the Oakwell Stadium to pick up a signed, framed picture of himself and the Chief Executive.
Mark Hannigan of the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce said:
“Here at the Chamber we have an excellent relationship with both Dearne Valley College and Barnsley Football Club. Following us finding out what the College planned to do with the picture taken at our Executive Lunch, it was only natural for us to contact Barnsley FC and organise David’s visit. We can only thank Ben Mansford, Rachel Hearne, David Flitcroft and the team at Barnsley for what happened after we arrived.”
David was treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the pitch and changing room facilities, before bumping into Barnsley first team player, Peter Ramage, currently on loan from Crystal Palace, who presented him with one of his own signed shirts. To end the surprise visit, the club’s Chief Executive took David around the pitch and gifted him and his family with tickets to the club’s next home game.
Speaking about this visit, David said:
“I got to meet Peter Ramage, who asked me if I had a Barnsley shirt. I said no, and he pulled out one of his shirts that he has worn and signed it. It’s amazing; I can’t believe I’m here. I don’t think I’ll be taking my new Barnsley shirt off at all!”