Prince William has helped a star-struck schoolboy meet his footballing hero after he heard how the lad had been left devastated by his mum’s death from a drugs overdose.
Deacon Glover, 11, had confided his heartache to William at a charity event in Burnley, Lancs., three weeks ago, where they both discussed the untimely deaths of their mums.
During the visit, William could be heard asking Deacon how old he was before saying: “I lost my mum when I was 15. It’s difficult, but it gets easier, I promise you.”
The young lad was wearing a replica Burnley FC football shirt, belonging to the team’s goalkeeper, Nick Pope during the occasion.
And later on Prince William, 39, leaned over to him and asked: “Would you like to see Nick Pope, yeah?” before adding, “We’ll see what we can do.”
Yesterday (Jan 14), the prince, who is president of the FA, honoured his word when Deacon met the footballing ace during a heart-warming encounter.
The pair chatted in the stands at Premier League Burnley’s Turf Moor stadium before walking together on the pitch.
Deacon was also presented with a signed football shirt from the goal keeper, who has also played for England.
Local pastor Mick Fleming, who helped facilitate the initial meeting with Prince William and joined Deacon yesterday, said the encounter would be “life changing” for the lad.
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.
He added: “The prince has followed through with everything he said in the conversation that he had with him. He has honoured it, and that’s amazing.”
Grace Taylor, 28, the poor lad’s mum, was found dead on January 15 last year after taking an overdose of heroin and methadone, along with perception medication, by her partner Sean Hargreaves.
Coroner Richard Taylor told an earlier inquest at Accrington Town Hall, Lancs., that on the night of January 14, Grace had left her home on Pine Street in Burnley to go to the shop for some food.
He said: “It was about 9pm and her partner, Sean, said when she returned home, she told him the shop was closed but she had managed to buy some heroin for him.
“Sean said they would usually take drugs separately, and while Grace went upstairs he stayed downstairs.
“Later, he went up to the bedroom and found Grace sprawled across the bed. He says it was around 4am, although he couldn’t properly recall whether it was day or night.”
Mr Taylor said it was Sean’s belief that Grace was asleep, but on the morning of January 15, he woke and was unable to rouse her.
He continued: “Sean tried to contact Grace’s grandmother and went to her house for help, before returning home and calling 999.”
A toxicology report revealed Grace had potentially fatal levels of heroin in her system as well as methadone, anti-depressant drug mirtazipine, anti-psychotic olanzapine, cocaine and amphetamine.
Although it was the heroin that had been taken in excess, a medical cause of death was offered as multi-drug toxicity.
Mr Taylor told the inquest that there was no evidence that she had intended to take her own life and recorded a conclusion of drug related death.
Speaking after the inquest, Grace’s grandmother, Carol Ellis said her granddaughter was a “smashing girl who would do anything for anyone”.
She added: “She was very vivacious, very loving. Drugs are evil and I see more and more young people who are using them and it’s shocking.
“She only started using when she was with Sean, and we just want her to rest in peace now.”