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England session is highlight for Midlands youngster

27 January 2013

  • Silver lining for Midlands youngster in Leeds
  • England session an inspirational experience
England fly half Toby Flood with young fan Dom Bousfield

Photo: RFU Archive

When 12-year-old Dom Bousfield was in the children’s ward at Russells Hall Hospital at Dudley in the West Midlands for surgery to remove a wart on his chin, he did not imagine that his particular cloud would result in a silver lining 130 miles away in Leeds.

But that’s exactly how the fairy story unfolded for the young Dudley Kingswinford RFC prop forward thanks to the efforts of the Wishing Well Appeal charity, which seeks to bring a ray of happiness into the lives of children who find themselves in the care of Russells Hall.

Rugby is Dom’s passion and it was through a persistent aggravation of his chin problem that surgery was eventually required.

Small wonder, then, that when asked what wish the charity might be able to fulfil, the youngster spoke of his dream to meet the England team and to see them at close quarters.

For Steve Ford, who runs the Wishing Well Appeal, Dom’s ambition became a very manageable challenge – eating cream cakes in the back of a speedboat holds the Imagination Prize – when England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster announced he was taking his squad back to Leeds to prepare for their opening RBS Six Nations Championship match against Scotland on Saturday (February 2).

Arrangements were made for Dom, his dad and his sister to visit Headingley Carnegie Stadium and they joined an enthusiastic crowd of around 6,000 who braved the icy conditions in Leeds.

“It’s been really good,” said Dom. “And well worth the journey. It’s been my dream to meet some of the England players and to see them this close, and it was great.”

His father, Simon, shared his son’s delight at being able to see the England players in the flesh.

“It’s been a great experience for me, but more so for Dom, who really loves rugby and idolises the team,” he said. “Today will really spur him on to go forward with the game.

“It all came about because when he was in hospital for the surgery, the Wishing Well Appeal people were in there and as they try to help both long-term and daycare patients, they asked Dom what his wish might be. Hence our appearance here today.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic – a dream come true. Getting this close to the team, seeing them practice... it’s been a wonderful experience for us all.”