Defender hits Darlo to surprise brave fan
THE FAN: Joel, a 13-year-old aspiring footballer from Darlaston.
THE WISHER: Nicola, Joel’s Mum, who felt he deserved a special treat this Christmas.
WHY: At the age of 8, Joel lost his Dad to cardiomyopathy, a heart condition, which offers no warnings. “The morning I had to tell Joel his Dad had died during the night was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Nicola. Joel’s Grandad then became a key influence, becoming a “surrogate father” before he passed away this year after suffering from throat cancer. “Their bond became so tight,” said Nicola. “Sadly my Dad died in March this year and once again Joel has lost the main role model in his life.” Joel is not only a keen Wolves fan but also plays himself whilst also puts the kit out and collects the balls for Darlaston Town.
NICOLA SAYS: “I’m sure most parents think their children are the best but my son is something else. In his 13 years of life he has seen so many tough times and, with the help of sport and I include his beloved Wolves in this, he is still such an inspiration to me. For his short life he has experienced more loss and tragedy yet stays focused and I feel now, more than ever, he needs to know how amazing I and others think he is. I would love him to receive a surprise and for him to meet Danny Batth. It would make his entire year and show him how so proud I am of him.”
THE WISH: Danny surprised Joel at his home after school one night. He spent an hour with Joel, delivering a box full of Wolves goodies as well as teaming up to play a game of FIFA on the X Box. Even though Danny is a Play Station man!!! Danny also took a pair of used boots and a signed football which he signed: “Keep going Joel – see you in the South Bank.”
JOEL SAYS: “I was told I was having a surprise Christmas present and that I had to be home and changed for 4 o’clock but I didn’t know what it was. And then Danny Batth turned up who is my favourite player. I was really happy but I didn’t know what to say. He then gave me some Wolves presents and we played a game of FIFA. I can’t wait to tell my friends about it but I don’t think they’ll believe me.”