FOOTBALL-CRAZY Ryan Hargrave is hoping to finish a tough year on a high by leading his Swindon Town heroes onto the field on Boxing Day.

The kind-hearted 12-year-old is among the many entrants in a special Christmas competition being run by the Adver in association with taxi and private hire firm V Cars.

The prize on offer is the chance to be Town's mascot for their Boxing Day fixture at home to Cambridge United.

Ryan, from Royal Wootton Bassett, has had to face bullies throughout the school year, while also helping his single mum of three around the house.

His love for Town came from his two grandads, who regularly attend matches at the County Ground.

Ryan named Keshi Anderson as his favourite player and said: “I want to make them proud. It would be a nice thing to win, it would really brighten up my year.

“Doing this would really make my year a lot better.

“And my bullies would definitely be very jealous if I got to help lead the team out.”

Becky Hammond, mum of Ryan and his two brothers Dylan, 9, and Tyler, 15, said: “He’s had a tough year, but he never lets that get him down, he never moans or asked for anything.

“This year he’s been bullied a lot. It’s been an ongoing issue, but he’s been fantastic with it, he’s not let it faze him.

“He’s continued to be himself even when he wanted to break down. He’s carried on and keeps giving back."

Younger sibling Dylan suffers from Asperger syndrome, something which Becky says Ryan helps with.

“He has such a kind heart,” Becky added: “He always puts everyone else first which sees him selflessly give to others.”

“He does as many little chores as he can to help me out. And he spends some one-on-one time with his brother, playing on the Xbox and basically being a good friend as well as a good big brother.”

“This would be a dream come true for him and if he won I know he would just be overwhelmed and truly grateful and so incredibly happy.”

The reason why Ryan has had to face bullies, which have followed him from primary to secondary school at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, baffles Becky.

She said: “I’m not too sure why. He’s dead good – especially when it comes to other people, a girl in his year also suffers from Asperger’s and he’s been making a real effort to be kind and friendly to her.”

How to enter our STFC mascot competition

There’s still a week to nominate your child to be a mascot at Swindon Town’s Boxing Day game against Cambridge United.

The Adver has teamed up with taxi firm V Cars to offer the fantastic prize.

All you have to do is nominate a youngster and tell us why they deserve to win.

The package includes a stadium tour and the chance to meet the players, as well as leading the team onto the pitch at the County Ground.

Nominees may have had a tough time in 2019 – or maybe they spend their time volunteering to help others or caring for a family member.Whatever the story, we want to hear it.

Nominations should be sent to and be no more than 200 words, with ‘Mascot competition’ in the subject line. We need the full name of the person you’re nominating, the reason why, and yours and their contact details. The closing date for entry is Friday, December 13.