A young boy left heartbroken after his signed Rotherham United shirt was stolen has been invited to be a match day mascot and to meet his favourite players.
Jasper Thornton, aged five, was contacted by RUFC after officials heard about the theft of the shirt from his parents’ car.
The Treeton youngster suffers from epidermolysis bullosa, a rare condition which causes the skin to blister and shed - leaving him unable to play contact sports.
Children with EB are often called butterfly children, as their skin is as delicate as a butterfly’s wings.
His mum Jess, 32, said: “He’ll never be able to play proper football, so supporting Rotherham is as close as it gets.
“He’s covered in bandages so he can’t get properly involved. He directs his passion into supporting football.”
The football shirt was signed by Rotherham players following their team’s promotion to the Championship last year.
Jasper and his family went along to the open top bus tour which took place in the town in May. Players signed the shirt and posed for photographs.
“It might seem insignificant to some people, but to Jasper it was everything,” added Jess.
“We don’t want anyone else making money out of Jasper’s memories.”
Jasper’s father Scott, 33, posted details of the theft on Facebook in a bid to locate the stolen shirt.
The post received hundreds of ‘shares’ and the Thorntons have been inundated with messages of sympathy.
Jasper is to be a mascot at Rotherham’s game against Bolton later this month.
He will be presented with a new shirt and players will sign it.
Jess said: “His face was a picture when we told him - he is ecstatic. There are some nasty people in the world but some lovely ones too.”