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My estimation of this chap has risen somewhat considerably:

From The Times

Family struck by tragedy pay warm tribute to Lampard
By Peter Lansley



FRANK LAMPARD has won many awards this season and as he attends to the toe injury that has precluded his participation in England’s tour to the United States this week, his recuperation may be aided by a glance at his Barclays Premier$hite champion’s medal or the Footballer of the Year award he received last week from the Football Writers’ Association (FWA). But whatever he goes on to win, there will be few tributes quite like the thanks offered last night by the mother of a brave girl from Kent who died of a brain tumour a fortnight ago.
Lucy, aged 10, struck up a rapport with the Chelsea midfield star, touching a chord through her courage in the face of the greatest adversity. Lampard, soon to become a father himself, arranged for her to be a match-day mascot, dedicated one of his title-clinching goals to her and ensured that she could be a guest of honour at Stamford Bridge on the day Chelsea were presented with the Premier$hite trophy. She died three days later.



“He brought so much joy to Lucy’s life and just the mention of his name brought a huge smile to her face,” Nicola, her mother, said. “He was really impressed by Lucy’s spirit and he gave her so much. Nothing was too much trouble. You hear so much these days about footballers getting into trouble, but Frank, John Terry and the rest couldn’t have been more supportive or caring.”

The morning after his house had been burgled last week, Lampard made a round trip of 200 miles to attend Lucy’s funeral. That night he was back in London to receive the FWA award and, after offering his thanks to the family, friends and coaches who had supported him, he signed off by dedicating his award to Lucy.

“I would just like to talk about a girl called Lucy,” he told the audience. “She came to the game against Charlton when we lifted the Premier$hite trophy. She had a tumour on the brain, but she was so desperate to come and see that game. The character and strength she showed made me put everything in perspective. I would like to dedicate this whole award to her, her family, especially her mother.”

Lucy had an inoperable brain-stem tumour diagnosed in August after tests for blurred vision and slurred speech. After six weeks of radiotherapy, her mother and friends wrote to the champions-elect asking if Lucy could have lunch with Lampard and Lucy was thrilled to be invited to Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham, Surrey, where she first met him and the squad in January.

“She had a fantastic time with Frank and John Terry,” Nicola, 32, who has two other daughters — Rosie, 13, and Millie, 8 — said. “He is a wonderful, caring person. It’s wonderful he’ll soon be a dad himself. I immediately saw how kind they were and I said to Frank that he was very good with kids. You could tell he was so genuine. There’s a real family atmosphere about Chelsea and everyone involved in the club. They all seem to be united.”

Lampard organised for Lucy to be at the Carling Cup semi- final first leg against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and gave her a Chelsea shirt bearing his No 8, a hat and scarf. They exchanged text messages and he kept a pledge to dedicate a goal to her when he mouthed the words “That’s for you, Lucy” as he sealed Chelsea’s title triumph by scoring two goals away to Bolton Wanderers.

As her condition deteriorated, he invited her on to the pitch for the celebrations when Chelsea were crowned champions after the game against Charlton Athletic. “Everyone was celebrating, but he still made the effort to find Lucy,” Nicola said. “He cuddled her and she gave him a kiss on the cheek. Afterwards, he sat with her in the lounge for ages.

“He is a credit to his profession and his parents. Seeing Lucy happy made us all happy and we can never thank Frank and everyone at Chelsea enough. They all helped make her final days so special and memorable.”


Lucy’s family would like to thank the charity CLIC Sargent for its support during her illness. To make a donation, go to www.clicsargent.org.uk

During her final days, Lucy wrote a poem dedicated to her hero:



Frank Lampard is the best
He wears the Chelsea vest
He’s lucky No 8
And he is my best mate
He is so kind and funny
And I’ve heard he earns
lots of money
I like to see Frank
whenever
And I hope we stay friends
for ever
 
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