When ten-year-old Alonso walks onto the pitch at White Hart Lane on Sunday, alongside Spurs captain Hugo Lloris, he’ll be marking one year of an amazing partnership between Noah’s Ark and the club.
Spurs are dedicating their 5 March match against Everton to Noah’s Ark. Judge Rinder will be there talking about us at half-time and our hippos Henry and Harriet will be saying hello and shaking collecting boxes.
In the lead-up to the match Alonso joined midfielder Moussa Dembele for a press conference in our Barnet shop on 2 March. Moussa worked behind the till and signed copies of the Spurs memoir A Love of the Lane by Chris Slegg (now available on Noahs Ark ebay store), while Alonso gave him some pre-match tips ahead of Sunday – and was quite candid with at one point, saying: “I don’t mean to be rude but, how could you lose against Liverpool?”
Talking about the event Moussa said: “As a football player it’s unbelievable that you can make people happy just to come and give a bit of your energy. It’s one of the nicest things there is.”
Having undergone 46 procedures since he was born, with short-gut syndrome, Alonso has spent much of his life in hospital, and he and his mum have been helped by Noah’s Ark since he was a baby.
“What family means to me is Noah’s Ark,” says his mum Enkelejda. “Noah’s Ark was our family at Christmas and birthdays. Noah’s Ark put a present under the tree when I couldn’t afford one. There are no words for how important they have been to us.”
Alonso is now enjoying much better health, and as a lifelong fan of Spurs, being chosen to represent Noah’s Ark at the Everton game is a fantastic way to celebrate.
“He’s been so unwell all his life that Alonso’s only just started school,” says Enkelejda. “But he’s so intelligent and bright. He’s interested in everything and has plenty of thoughts to share. I’m so proud of him.
“Sunday is a dream-come-true for Alonso. He is such a fan, with so much to say about the game. We can’t believe how lucky he is to have this experience.