Gemma's mascot duty made me proud

PUBLISHED: 17:13 21 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:45 14 September 2010

Early in the summer the Capital Canaries wrote to Norwich City to enquire whether we would be permitted to supply a mascot for a London away game. Gemma's mascot duty made me proud

Early in the summer the Capital Canaries wrote to Norwich City to enquire whether we would be permitted to supply a mascot for a London away game.

We received a prompt reply from Chloe Bowman, who works at the club, who said they would be happy to help and we could select a game, providing that it was a fixture in which Norwich could supply a mascot.

When the fixtures were published in June, QPR away was chosen. Little did we know, at the time, how the season would unfold and how significant this game was to be for Norwich City.

When my daughter, Gemma, was selected as the Capital Canaries mascot for the fixture, I was both very proud, and more than a little nervous for her, as running out in front of a large crowd would be intimidating for an adult, let alone a girl approaching her eighth birthday.

Both Norwich and QPR were both very helpful in organising the day for us. All I had to do was ensure that Gemma had this year's kit; I don't think that Flybe would be very happy seeing the mascot run out in a Proton Cars shirt! Thanks to Chloe, we also purchased tickets in the front row of the away end upper tier, which meant that we had a great view.

A week before the game we received a letter from QPR asking us to report to the reception in the main stand at 2pm. Gemma insisted on taking this letter to school to show all her friends that she really was going to be the Norwich City mascot!

We parked near the ground and after we had bought a programme, Gemma had a look through it and was thrilled to see herself featured with the caption “Capital Canaries Mascot” above the picture. The Capital Canaries also had another mention in the programme, on page seven.

We arrived at the appointed hour and were introduced to Brian Harris, who was on mascot duty for QPR. He immediately made us all feel very welcome, including some reassuring words for one of the QPR mascots who was clinging on to his father's arm and looking very nervous indeed.

We also found out that there was another Norwich mascot, as well as Gemma. He was called Max Adams - I later found out that he was Neil Adams' son. The presence of another Norwich mascot really pleased Gemma who thought she would be outnumbered by QPR mascots.

At 2.20pm, we were allowed to go through to the pitch and I sat in the home dugout while Gemma soaked up the atmosphere. I took some photos of the day, while the official photographer took a few pictures of Max, Gemma and whichever Norwich City player happened to be nearby.

Gemma's one wish for the day was to run out with Darren Huckerby on to the pitch. Gemma or I did not even need to ask for this to happen, as Brian Harris had already arranged it, having asked Gemma who her favourite player was. When I asked Gemma what Darren had said to her in the tunnel before the game, all she said was: “I've forgotten”.

When Gemma ran out on to the pitch and applauded the crowd, I must admit there was a lump in my throat. It was my proudest moment in the 35 years I have been supporting Norwich. She got a few kicks in the warm up and showed some good passing ability and control - all our practising in the park paid off!

As soon as the match kicked off, we rushed round to the upper tier of the away end, but got there just too late to see the opening goal of the game. I did not mind missing the goal, but the worst bit was not knowing which team had scored when the cheering started.

We had a fantastic day and I would like to thank Chloe Bowman for organising things for us at Norwich and also to QPR and especially Brian Harris, for being excellent hosts.

Finally, on behalf of the Capital Canaries, I would like congratulate Peter Grant on becoming the new Norwich City manager. From what I have read and seen so far, and how the players have responded, he looks to be an excellent appointment.

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