By Claire Gordon • 21 January 2022 • 15:52
Leapy Lee: No guidance. CREDIT: West Midlands Police
Prince William has comforted a grieving schoolboy while on an official engagement, telling the 11-year-old “it gets easier”. The Duke of Cambridge put a hand on the boy’s shoulder and listened as the lad told him about the loss of his mother.
William, who was 15 when his mother Princess Diana died in 1997, also told 11-year-old Deacon Glover: “I know how you feel.”
The boy’s mother, Grace Taylor, died last year aged 28.
William and the Duchess of Cambridge spent about 15 minutes talking to Deacon and his great-grandmother, Carole Ellis, during a visit to Church on the Street in Burnley, Lancashire. The centre helps people struggling with poverty, homelessness, addiction or other problems.
While most people were excited about the royal visit, Deacon seemed a little unimpressed, to begin with. “He thought it was a footballer coming here so he was gutted when he found out it was William and Kate,” one volunteer at the centre said. But gradually he became chattier, as William asked him about Burnley FC and pointed out that his father, the Prince of Wales, was a supporter of the club after directing some of his charities to work in the town.
“I only found out a few years ago that my dad is a Burnley fan,” he said. He told Deacon and his great-grandmother that he hoped his own children would follow him in supporting Aston Villa. “I need to spread the love a bit,” he said, as reported by Sky News.
The duke and duchess had asked to visit the centre after watching a television report in December about its work with Burnley’s most vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic and finding it “very moving”.
Pastor Mick Fleming set up Church on the Street in 2019 to help the homeless and disadvantaged living in Burnley and surrounding areas.
Housed in a former gym and funded by donations, it provides a food bank, clothing bank, hot showers, laundry, a cafe, recovery groups, addiction and mental health support, access to a qualified counsellor, and a safe space for up to 200 people at any one time.
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