Club sponsor wonga.com named Foundation judo player Katie Crozier as their official mascot for the Tyne & Wear Derby at the weekend.
Katie, aged 11, from Ponteland Middle School is no stranger to the derby atmosphere, recently participating in a friendly Judo tournament against Sunderland. The tournament was part of the Premier League 4 Sport project, which sees both clubs deliver a range of different sports while promoting friendship and tackling anti-social behaviour. Katie has become a regular face at the project, attending weekly sessions at her school and making the transition to HUB Club Newburn, achieving her red belt in Judo.
Katie has shown great sportsmanship, growing in confidence since participating in Judo. It is this determination, teamed with her love of Newcastle United which prompted Newcastle United Foundation to nominate her to receive the special reward from Wonga.
Mum, Claire Dobing, described how much becoming the mascot for the Derby match meant to Katie:
"Katie was really excited about being a mascot and had an amazing time,"
"It meant a lot to her as both her Dad and Grandad are loyal supporters of Newcastle United, passing this passion on to Katie."
Katie was able to step out onto the pitch for the pre-match handshakes. An experience to be remembered, she can now say she was involved in two Derby matches this season.
Newcastle United Foundation runs 32 satellite coaching centres in Judo, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, badminton, hockey and tennis as part of Premier League 4 Sport.