Rutland man Jim gets dream visit to Leicester City
A charity made a motor neurone disease sufferer’s wish come true when they arranged for him to visit the home of his beloved team.
Jim Chapman, 68, from Glaston, was diagnosed with the degenerative condition on December 14.
His family were devastated by the diagnosis, but quickly vowed to give him as much love and kindness as they could and make Jim’s every remaining day count.
They decided to try to do something related to Jim’s favourite football team Leicester City FC, who are currently riding high at the top of the Premier League. Jim’s son-in-law Lee Meacham and granddaughter Becky Chapman contacted wish-granting charity the HoneyRose Foundation, which managed to arrange for the whole family to visit the club on Tuesday last week.
Jim’s daughter and Lee’s husband Racheal said: “This day out was a total surprise for dad as he had no idea where we were going. I had just told him we were going out for the morning.
“So when we turned up at the Leicester City training ground his whole face lit up. Then, as my husband pulled up and he saw Becky get out the car he had tears in his eyes. He was so happy.”
Becky, 26, is in the Royal Navy and is based in Portsmouth, but made the trip just to be there for her grandad’s special day. It was Jim’s first time out in his wheelchair and adapted car.
The family, including grandson Hayden Meacham, 10, were greeted by club legend Alan Birchenall, who acted as their guide for the day. They went on a tour of the facilities, and got to see striker Jamie Vardy’s England shirt.
They then watched the first team squad training for their FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur, which they unfortunately went on to lose 2-0. Hayden had a great time acting as ballboy.
When the session ended, many of the players came to speak to Jim and pose for photos. Racheal said: “Somehow along the way everyone started calling dad ‘grandad’, which we all though was hilarious. Dad said it was marvellous, as this is one of the few words he can still say.
“We were also very lucky to have a great photo with the manager Claudio Ranieri and midfielder N’Golo Kante, who were lovely to take time out for dad. We were made to feel so welcome by everyone and I had to hold back the tears a few times just seeing my dad so happy.”
Jim now has a bucket list which hopes to work through, and his family plan to raise as much awareness of motor neurone disease as they can. They thanked HoneyRose and the Motor Neurone Disease Association for their support.