Prince William helps little boy meet hero Nick Pope
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Prince William helped Deacon Glover, a young football fan he first met last month during a visit to community hub Church on the Street Ministries in Burnley, meet his favourite footballer Nick Pope. William and Deacon had initially bonded over their love for football and shared experience of loss as, much like the Duke of Cambridge, the 11-year-old boy lost his mother at a young age.
During their initial chat, which was also attended by Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Deacon’s great-grandmother Carole Ellis and the community centre’s leader Pastor Mick Fleming, William promised to the boy bearing the weight of the loss “gets easier”.
Speaking about losing Princess Diana when he was a teenager, William said: “I lost my mum when I was 15.
“It’s difficult, but it gets easier, I promise you.”
The Duke also noted the boy was wearing a Burnley jersey with Pope’s name on the back.
The royal, who is also the President of the FA, asked him: “Would you like to see Nick Pope, yeah?”
After Deacon nodded enthusiastically, William added: “We’ll see what we can do.”
Only a few weeks after the Cambridges’ visit to Burnley, Pastor Fleming sent royal fans into a frenzy as he shared a brief clip on Twitter showing Prince William asking Deacon about Pope followed by a picture of the boy sitting next to the goalkeeper on the stands at Turf Moor.
William, it was revealed, arranged a meeting between Deacon and Pope for Sunday, shortly before Burnley FC played with Liverpool.
Upon tweeting the video, Pastor Fleming wrote: “HRH was true to his word”.
News of Prince William’s kindness left in tears some royal fans, with one, @Jay7yn, writing: “Okay, this made me cry.
“I am always so touched when tender mercies are given to those who are suffering, especially when it is children.
“Bless that young man, your good self @PastorFleming, the great work your organisation performs, and to a wise & kind future #KingWilliamV.”
Another, with the nickname @WatWatSpin, said: “Oh boy, it just got a bit dusty in here. I love this!”
A third, @regalmonarchist, celebrated the Duke’s act saying: “This Prince is a King if there ever was one. Seriously. The UK is so lucky to have him.”
Finally, @Pooja33719735 wrote: “What a lovely gesture from Prince William! He knew that young lad wanted to meet his football hero, & HRH made it happen for him.
“Now that is what you call a man of integrity & compassion.”
During their meeting, Pope signed a Burnley FC jersey for Deacon, adding the message “never give up”.
He also gave the boy his goalie gloves and accompanied him onto the pitch.
Speaking about the once-in-a-lifetime meeting, Ms Ellis told Burnley Express: “It was such a wonderful moment for Deacon and seeing his face when he met Nick Pope was just wonderful.
“I had a real lump in my throat. They had a good chat, Nick was absolutely lovely with him and really encouraging.”
Ms Ellis added Deacon spoke about his own experience as a goalie with Pope, who told him to “carry on” and ignore criticism.
Speaking to the press, Pastor Fleming also spoke about the major impact this meeting will have for Deacon.
He said: “This is going to be life-changing for Deacon.
“This will help him to break the cycle of life that’s been around him.
“This was something so special, and I think what the prince has done has given him hope for the future.
“It’s phenomenal, what he has done, as it’s not just meeting a footballer, it’s a lot, lot deeper – it will help him.”
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