A DREAM came true for a Borders rugby fan recently when he appeared as a mascot for the Edinburgh Rugby team before their Heineken Cup game against Cardiff at Murrayfield, writes Fiona Scott.
Fifteen-year-old Michael Bunyan’s world was turned upside down when he developed a brain tumour in 2003.
Ever since, the Selkirk teenager has battled his way back to leading an active life and even after treatment for the tumour caused a stroke which left him completely blind, he refused to give up the fight.
Michael is a huge rugby fan and Gala’s record-breaking internationalist Chris Paterson has been a regular visitor in the Bunyan household during and after his treatment, as has outgoing Edinburgh Rugby coach Rob Moffat.
Indeed, it was Moffat who organised for Michael to go to Murrayfield last week through the charity Dreamz4u and for the Selkirk High School pupil it was just what the doctor ordered.
Michael’s mum Susan told TheSouthern: “He was chuffed to bits to be able to go to the game. Chris has always been his favourite player and to be able to go to a match that he was playing in was just amazing.”
Michael was presented with an Edinburgh strip before the match and led the teams from the tunnel on the arm of captain Roddy Grant and winger Tim Visser.
Unfortunately, although Edinburgh were in the lead at half-time, they were eventually beaten 21-14 with stand-off Paterson kicking three penalties.
Michael, who attended the game with his mum, dad Andrew, and grandparents Christine and Drew Richardson, had a running commentary of the game all the way through from his family.
“It was quite emotional for us watching him run out on to the field before the game,” added Susan. “He then joined us in the stand and we kept him well informed on what was going on.”
Michael, however, was maybe too well informed.
After hearing from his family that referee John Lacey had awarded Cardiff a dubious penalty the tenacious teen tackled the whistler about it after the game.
Susan explained: “The referee took it well and gave Michael a refereeing tracksuit to add to his extensive collection of rugby gear, so it all ended well.”
As well as meeting the ref, Michael had a chat with all his favourite players – Mike Blair, Ross Ford, Dan Parks and, of course, Selkirk’s Lee Jones.