Medal joy for Rocket superfan

Ben Walsh with Ronnie O'Sullivan's medal
Ben Walsh with Ronnie O'Sullivan's medal
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A Ronnie O’Sullivan mini-me with a passion for snooker received a very special gift from the champion himself.

Ben Walsh, eight, was handed the World Grand Prix medal by O’Sullivan following his win at the World Snooker tournament at Preston Guild Hall.

Ronnie O'Sullivan's medal

Ronnie O'Sullivan's medal

O’Sullivan secured an impressive 10-3 victory over Ding Junhui at the competition last month. After receiving his medal, ‘Rocket Ronnie’ turned and gave it to Ben, who was watching in the crowd with his dad, Matthew, and grandad, David.

The Bispham Endowed Primary School pupil, who lives on Knowle Avenue, is such a big fan of O’Sullivan that he insisted on naming his 17-month-old baby brother ‘Ronnie’ after his hero.

His mum, Rachael, said: “He wouldn’t sell it for a million pounds. It’s given him more enthusiasm for the game.

“He wants to play even more, morning, noon and night. Our first wake-up call is him playing on the snooker table.

“He’s quite a sporty lad and he’s tried his hand at football, swimming and tennis. But snooker is his real passion.

“He likes to dress like Ronnie O’Sullivan in his little dickie bow. He even wanted to be Ronnie O’Sullivan for World Book Day.”

She added that attending the Grand Prix was a ‘dream come true’ for Ben, who even brought his own snooker cue along. She said: “He actually got the tickets for Christmas. It was on his wish list.”

Ben said: “I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything. I would like to say a big thank you for the medal.”