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AO delivers a dream night at the AO Arena for inspirational young cricketer

An inspirational young man enjoyed a dream night out at the AO Arena last Friday, thanks to online electricals retailer AO and its local sponsorship partners.

Thomas Jackson, who plays as a wicket keeper batter for Lancashire Cricket at County Age Group level, was honoured with the AO Recovery of the Year award last year following months of treatment for a brain tumour.

Last Friday, the 16-year-old enjoyed a special VIP experience at Hits Radio Live at the AO Arena in Manchester, which boasted an incredible line-up of pop acts including Sam Smith, Olly Murs and Craig David.

As sponsors of Lancashire Cricket Age Group and Medical Teams, AO were made aware of Thomas’ inspiring story and blown away by his courage and determination. Following his award win at Lancashire Cricket’s End of Season Awards, the team promised Thomas and his family a night to remember in their hospitality suite at the AO Arena, where they are also the headline sponsor.

The Hits Radio Live event was the ideal opportunity to invite the family down as special guests, since one of Thomas’ favourite acts, YouTube star and musician KSI, was performing.  The teams at the AO Arena and Hits Radio, the radio station behind the event, worked hard to deliver the full VIP treatment for the group, with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go backstage and meet one of the stars, Olly Murs.

On his experience at the AO Arena, Thomas said: “I really enjoyed our night at Hits Live and it was amazing to see all the different acts. I’m grateful to everyone who helped organise it.”

John Roberts, CEO and Founder of AO, said: “Thomas is an inspiration to so many people and everyone at AO is thrilled to see his recovery so far. As proud sponsors of the AO Arena, as well as the medical team at Lancashire Cricket, we wanted to offer Thomas and his family a personal invitation to join us for a special night that he’ll hopefully remember for many years to come.”

Paul Gerrard, Programme Director for Hits Radio said: “After hearing Thomas’ story, we were really keen to do all we could to help make his visit to Hits Live even more special. We hope he enjoyed his visit backstage and a very special meet and greet with one of our artists on the night, Olly Murs. We certainly enjoyed meeting Tom and his family.”

In 2020, Thomas was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumour which affects muscle coordination, balance, and movement. His intense treatment has involved a trial period of proton beam therapy, followed by chemotherapy from January to October last year.

Thomas has received a whole host of support from the world of cricket during his battle, including teammates from club and county level, as well as video messages from famous faces such as Lancashire’s James Anderson, Jos Buttler and former England Test captain, Joe Root.

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