Two young carers had the experience of a lifetime recently when they acted as mascots for the Scotland Rugby team.
And Johnathan McNicol and Andrew Douglas (both 10) certainly brought good luck with them, as the Scotland team skillfully romped home with a 23-10 victory over Fiji on 14 November and a 9-8 defeat of Australia one week later.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers was the official chosen charity of the Scotland vs Fiji match, which was why Andrew got the chance to be the team mascot for the match. Johnathan’s mascot appearance took place the following week.
Both Andrew and Johnathan attend their local Carers’ Centres, which are part of the network of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers’ centres. The centres run services for young carers, those aged under 18 who care for a parent or other relative who can’t manage without their help.
Because of their responsibilities to others, young carers often miss out on the educational, vocational and leisure opportunities their peers take for granted. The services run by the Carers’ Centres try to minimise the impact of the children and teenagers’ caring role, help them with any problems they might have, introduce them to other young people in the same position and organise days out and other activities.
The opportunity to be a match-day mascot is a once in a lifetime day, which gave Andrew and Johnathan the chance to be the first on the Murrayfield pitch, feel the deafening roar of the crowd and experience the pride and expectation of a nation as the team and the crowd unite for the national anthem.
Andrew looks after his mum Janice, who suffered bad spinal injuries after a car crash some years ago. He also cares for his dad. Andrew helps his mum with her medication and does whatever is needed around the house.
Janice said: “If I say that anything needs doing, Andrew always says yes and any time I need a cuddle, he’s there to hug me. He absolutely loved being a mascot for the Scotland team and our day out was like a whole holiday in one day!”
Johnathan looks after his brother who has Cerebral Palsy and is registered blind. Johnathan went to the match with his young carers support worker and two other young carers.
Johnathan said: “I loved being a mascot as I got to represent Scotland – and Scotland won against Australia for the first time in 27 years!”
Dominic McKay, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Scottish Rugby, added: “Scottish Rugby is committed to offering places in the line up to charitable organisations, like The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, to reward the often unseen efforts of young people who commit a commendable portion of their young lives to supporting others with this truly unforgettable day.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is the largest provider of comprehensive carers’ support services in the UK. Through its unique network of independently managed Carers’ Centres and interactive websites – www.carers.org and www.youngcarers.net, The Trust currently provides quality information, advice and support services to carers of all ages and backgrounds.