Aiden meets his hero

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A YOUNG boy had his dream come true when he met his footballing hero Jermain Defoe at a Downing Street party.

Aiden Coxhead also flew out to Cape Town to watch England play Algeria during the World Cup in June - all thanks to wish-granting charity, the Starlight Foundation.

The 10-year-old suffers from cystic fibrosis, and was one of 50 youngsters chosen by the charity to attend their Christmas winter wonderland party.

The children were invited by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to a spectacular tea party in the state rooms of 11 Downing Street, which was transformed into the magical world of Alice in Wonderland for the afternoon.

Afterwards Aiden, from Portsmouth, said his trip to London to meet the England and former Pompey star had been one of the best experiences of his life.

'I was so excited to meet Jermain Defoe. I never believed it could happen,' he said.

'When I feel sad or want to talk with other people I find it easy to talk about football.

'I love it. In fact I'm happiest in the world when I'm talking about it, playing it with my brothers or watching England games.'

Until they became involved with Starlight, the Coxheads have never been abroad as a family, so their trip to South Africa was a treasured opportunity for Aiden, his parents, Simon and Vicky, and his three siblings.

Vicky said: 'We had such a wonderful time in London.

'Aiden is absolutely obsessed with football and is a massive Pompey fan. The things he's done have made him so happy.'

Also making an appearance at the party were Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud, children's TV presenter Kemi Majeks, and X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon.

Neil Swan, chief executive of Starlight, said: 'On behalf of Starlight, I want to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his team at No 11 Downing Street for their exceptional hospitality.'

Cystic fibrosis is a life shortening, genetic condition. The Starlight Children's Foundation makes wishes come true for children fighting serious and terminal illnesses. To make a donation go to or call 0207 262 2881.