Birmingham & Black Country

England football team urges hospice support in memory of boy

Ben Williams Image copyright Liam Herbert
Image caption Five-year-old football fan Ben was given a replica World Cup trophy by staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham

The England football team has asked people to support a hospice that helped a young team mascot during the final stages of his cancer treatment.

Ben Williams was diagnosed with a brain tumour just days after his fifth birthday in April last year.

The little boy had been hailed by captain Harry Kane as "an inspiration" after he underwent radiotherapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

Ben, who died in May, led the team onto the pitch for a game in September.

A tweet from the England account described its sadness at learning Ben had died.

Ben could not walk or talk before his treatment last summer but asked for the World Cup as his speech returned.

Staff shared an emotional video of him receiving a replica version of the trophy in July 2018.

Kane replied to the tweet, pledging the team would do everything it could to win its next match, the World Cup quarter-final against Sweden.

Ben's family is now fundraising in memory of the "funny, sharp, adventurous" boy for the Acorns Children's Hospice Trust, based in Birmingham.

"When it came to the end, we do not know how we could have carried on without the immaculate professionalism, expertise and comfort that the Acorns staff provided," said grandfather Hugh Williams.

"While everyone around Ben didn't know what to do, they quietly and unobtrusively did, and made the unbearable a little less of a tragedy," he added on the family's gofundme page.

The campaign has so far raised more than £9,000.

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