Stoke & Staffordshire

England mascot honour for disabled boy Ben Baddeley

Ben Baddeley
Image caption Ben Baddeley said he was "really excited" to be making the trip to Wembley

A seven-year-old boy who was told he would always use a wheelchair has walked out on to the Wembley pitch with the England football team.

Ben Baddeley, from Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy and should not be able to walk unaided.

But he walked alongside the England team as their mascot for the match against Switzerland.

He took his first steps after using a trike designed to strengthen his legs.

The £700 bicycle has strengthened the muscles enough that he has become able to walk without sticks.

Ben met the England squad before the European Championship qualifying match.

His parents, Amy and Gary Baddeley, said it was his first visit to Wembley.

Mrs Baddeley said: "It's always been a dream of his to go to Wembley Stadium."

Ben said he was "really excited" to be making the trip.

Although he is walking unaided most of the time he still has to wear splints inside his shoes.

But that has not stopped him playing football and Mrs Baddeley said the sport was also helping to build up his muscles.

"Playing football is helping him a lot with the everyday things," she said.

"Turning corners, avoiding people when you're in the street, every time he's going there they're teaching him things he's putting into everyday life.

"The difference it's making is huge."

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