Owls give devoted fan real VIP treatment

Owls stars Darren Potter and Liam Palmer with young supporter Ben O'Brien
Owls stars Darren Potter and Liam Palmer with young supporter Ben O'Brien

LITTLE Owl Ben O’Brien enjoyed a special visit to Hillsborough after being invited to watch a first team training session.

Eight-year-old Ben O’Brien, who has bone cancer affecting his left knee and shin, was recovering in Sheffield Children’s Hospital after chemotherapy when Owls players Liam Palmer and Darren Potter paid a surprise visit.

Wednesdayite Ben, from Ecclesfield, was diagnosed with the aggressive form of cancer after his mum noticed he was passing up playing his beloved football due to pain in his leg.

Darren and Liam presented Ben with a signed shirt and invited him to a training session at Hillsborough Stadium as soon as he was feeling well enough to attend.

Less than a month later and following major surgery, Ben and his family arrived at the ground to get a sneak peek at the team training.

The family had a chat with manager Gary Megson before taking their places in the dugout to watch the team train and meet the players.

“It was great for Ben,” mum Dawn Sowden said.

“He has been through a lot this year having to face months of chemotherapy and a very big operation.”

The youngster recently travelled to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham for surgery to remove a tumour in his leg bone.

Surgeons also took away his shin and knee bone, which were replaced with prosthetic titanium rods.

Owls midfielder Darren Potter said: “When we heard that Ben was a Sheffield Wednesday fan and was having a difficult time we thought we’d pay him a surprise visit.

“The first time we met him he had just been through chemotheraphy and was preparing for his op so it was really nice to see him out and about and feeling well enough to enjoy an afternoon at Hillsborough.”

Dawn added: “Ben was delighted when Liam and Darren turned up at the hospital and invited him to watch the team train. He had been looking forward to the visit ever since and it definitely lived up to his expectations.”

Liam Palmer also presented Ben with his match shirt.