How a robot helped an Everton fan fulfil his Goodison Park dream
Fourteen-year-old Everton fan Jack McLinden became part of Premier League history on Monday, serving as a 'remote' match day mascot against Newcastle with the aid of a robot.
Jack suffers from multiple health conditions and has severely reduced mobility but was able to savour the experience of joining his heroes on the pitch thanks to the telepresence robot AV1.
The unit was carried on to the field by Everton captain Phil Jagielka, with Jack enjoying the occasion in real-time via a camera, microphone and speaker linked with his tablet and also interacting with Toffees players in the tunnel.
Norwegian company No Isolation designed AV1 to help children with long-term illness battle loneliness and attend school from home, partnering with UK charity WellChild to give the Liverpool teenager an unforgettable Goodison Park experience.
Everton's head of engagement, Scott McLeod, said: "The most important thing for everybody at the club is that we have had the opportunity, through this amazing technology and the work with No Isolation and WellChild, to do something incredible for an inspirational young Evertonian.
"We are thrilled to have had the chance to do this for Jack and we hope it has provided him with a memory he will always treasure."
Karen Dolva, CEO and co-founder of No Isolation said: "Technology is about making the seemingly impossible possible. For Jack, the dream of being a mascot for his favourite football club was not likely to happen given his condition.
"Working with such a wonderful and inclusive club as Everton to give Jack this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a moment myself and those working at our company will never forget."
His mother Michelle Wignall added: "We are thrilled that through No Isolation and Everton Football Club, Jack is able to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience."