Auction winners visit Chadwell Heath

Maria Hewett became the girlfriend every Hammers fan dreams of when she successfully won an auction for a training ground visit for boyfriend Edward Mason.

Maria was listening to BBC London's Saturday Sport with Phil Parry on her radio at home back in November 2013, when she heard that an auction was being held to win a trip to Chadwell Heath as well as a signed shirt.

"I just thought it would be a nice surprise for him," she explained. Maria beat off some stiff competition to win the auction, which was in aid of Children in Need with all the proceeds going to the charity.

She certainly succeeded in surprising lifelong Hammer Edward, who visited Chadwell Heath with his girlfriend on 4 March.

Edward and Maria meet Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan

He told West Ham TV: "Maria overheard on the radio that there was a bidding competition for BBC Children in Need to come down and watch the lads train. She kept bidding, eventually won the auction and that's what brought us here today.

"I was really nervous, but obviously chuffed. You don't get this chance every day and it's really nice to come across and watch these guys train. I was really happy."

The pair arrived at the Club's training base at around 10am before being escorted through to watch the players begin their activation session on the indoor pitch.

Before the session commenced, Club captain Kevin Nolan and home grown Hammer Mark Noble were the first to introduce themselves to the couple, before the rest of the first team squad followed suit.

After taking some pictures with his idols, Edward and Maria headed outside to watch the players take part in a session led by Assistant manager Neil McDonald, before Edward observed his favourite player Jussi Jaaskelainen in action with the rest of the goalkeepers.

"It's much better than I expected," revealed Edward after watching training at close quarters. "It's really kind of the Club to have us down and for the players to have pictures with me. It's surreal.

The pair meet Carlton Cole before training begins

"It's really intense. I didn't expect to be watching training this close-up, so it's great."

When the players headed into the changing rooms, so did the Club's guests, who had a drink in the canteen before collecting more photos and some autographs from the players, including Jaaskelainen who presented Edward with his signed shirt.

Reflecting on his visit to the training ground, Edward was delighted to have met the players and thanked them for their time.

"Carlton Cole's a great lad, they're all really friendly guys and it's really nice of them to spend some time with me, shake my hand and stuff, it's really kind of them."