Kieran Trippier proves to be a top signing for footie fan at St Oswald’s Hospice

Meeting his footballing hero has made an indelible mark on one young adult at St Oswald’s Hospice – quite literally – as Ewan Barry visited a local tattoo parlour an hour after getting the autograph of Newcastle United footballer, Kieran Trippier.

Newcastle United and England star, Kieran Trippier, who was recently announced as our official Charity Ambassador of St Oswald’s Hospice Children and Young Adults Service, visited the hospice last month where he met and chatted with children, young adults, families, staff and volunteers.

Kieran happily signed pictures and memorabilia for everyone on the day as well as Newcastle United and England shirts, which are currently being raffled in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice.

But the football star also got an unusual request during his visit from 24-year-old Ewan Barry from Jarrow, who asked Kieran to sign his arm so that he could get it tattooed as a permanent reminder of their meeting.

Ewan who has been attending monthly short breaks at St Oswald’s Hospice since 2011, has Friedrich Ataxia, a rare inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system. The condition affects Ewan’s mobility and speech.

While at the hospice, Ewan loves to catch up with friends and play Xbox in the dedicated Young Adults Lounge, which caters to those aged 18 to 25, but his first love is football, which he describes as his “second life”.

Ewan has been a season ticket holder at his beloved Newcastle United for the past 12 years and attends every home game with his dad and two brothers.

“Going to the matches makes my weekend!” Ewan enthused.

The life-long fan got a Newcastle United-themed tattoo on his shoulder in January 2023 and when he found out he was going to meet Kieran, he devised a plan to add to the artwork.

Ewan loved meeting his idol, who he found friendly and down-to-earth:

“Even though he’s a senior footballer from Newcastle United, he took time out of his day to visit the hospice. He was so nice to everyone and very easy to talk to.”

The football fan continued: “While on the visit, Kieran met a lad who didn’t really like football so he asked him what he was into. When he replied music, Kieran started to talk to him about that instead. I don’t think many footballers would have taken the time to do that.”

Ewan admits the Newcastle United and England star was initially reluctant to sign his arm when he told him he wanted to turn it into an everlasting memento.

Photo 2 Kieran signing Ewan's arm (c) St Oswald's Hospice

Ewan explained:

“Kieran kept asking me, ‘Are you sure? I kept saying, ‘Yes, definitely!’ Once he knew I was serious, he was happy to do it.”

Watch Kieran sign Ewan's arm

Just minutes after the footballer left St Oswald’s Hospice, Ewan made his way to a local tattoo artist.

According to Ewan, it wasn’t the first time she had been asked to tattoo a famous autograph, but it was the first request for a footballer.

Ewan is delighted with his new tattoo, which includes the number 2 – Kieran’s shirt number at Newcastle United.

Photo 3 Ewan getting his tattoo (c) St Oswald's Hospice

Ewan reveals getting the tattoo didn’t hurt:

“It was just like cat scratches,” he added with a smile.

Ewan also admits his dad thought he was “crazy” to get a tattoo but he likes his son’s latest one.

“When you love something so much, you’ve got to show that passion.” Ewan added. “The tattoos are my way of showing how much the club means to me.”

The 24-year-old thinks his new tattoo could also be a good luck charm for his team, who have enjoyed some good results ever since.

Ewan sees Kieran as the talisman who heralded in Newcastle United’s ‘new era’.

“He was the one who started it off and I’m really grateful to him for that,” Ewan said.

“To come from the Spanish champions to a relegation-fighting team was such a big thing at the time. People questioned him but he did it anyway. I have so much respect for him for that.”

Holly Smith, Acting Matron at St Oswald’s Hospice Children and Young Adults Service, said:

“When I heard Ewan was planning to ask Kieran to sign his arm so he could get it as a tattoo, I wasn’t sure if the Newcastle United player would do it. I hear Kieran was a bit surprised by the request at first but the resulting tattoo is amazing.

“Ewan is a huge football fan and is always talking about Newcastle United. If there’s a match on while he’s at the hospice, his dad will either pick him up to take him to St James’ Park. Or, if it’s an away match, we’ll take Ewan to the pub to watch them play.

“The fact that he now has a permanent reminder of meeting his hero is fantastic. Ewan loves his new tattoo and has been showing it to everyone at the hospice.”

Let’s hope Ewan’s new artwork continues to be a good luck charm for Kieran and Newcastle United and they can secure some more top results for the 24-year-old and his family to cheer from the stands.

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