North Devon footballer joins the England Lionhearts squad
- Credit: Jack Littlejohns
A North Devon footballer has been added to an England dream team of Covid-19 heroes that includes skipper Sir Tom Moore.
Jack Littlejohns of Barnstaple Ability FC has been chosen by the Football Association (FA) to join the Lionhearts – a group of inspirational individuals who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic.
Jack, from Dolton, learned of his call up in a video message from Three Lions and Liverpool star Jordan Henderson.
Even before the pandemic, he worked hard as a long term member of Barnstaple Ability FC to raise money and help others with disabilities in the area.
The club is dedicated to ensuring those with disabilities and other additional needs have the same opportunities as everyone else to get out there and enjoy football.
Jack, who has learning difficulties himself, helps out at the club and has organised a series of fundraising events, which went into an even higher gear once Covid arrived.
He was more than a little shocked when someone from the FA called him for a Zoom online chat about things Barnstaple Ability had done.
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He said: “At the end he said the FA had a surprise for me, which started off with a video message from Jordan Henderson saying that the England national football team have inducted me into their Lionhearts squad which includes Sir Captain Tom Moore and YouTube sensation Joe Wicks!
“I was completely lost for words when they played it for me - I was like ‘this is real right?’ I mean I watch the premier league and the England national games on Sky Sports but I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams as a footballer that I would receive something like that.
"It's just phenomenal and to be recognised as part of the England Lionhearts squad, and to be alongside Captain Sir Tom Moore, it's just unbelievable.
"Don't ever let a disability knock your ability to achieve greatness for yourself and I want to use this as a platform for so many disabled people in our area.”
Jack’s fundraising included a raffle which raised more than £1,250 plus he also promotes the club to disabled children in the area – whether it be on the local radio station or paying local visits to schools and colleges and talking about how football has benefited his life and helps others around him.
Once the pandemic struck, Jack helped keep the club’s players and team spirit together by sending cards and creating gift hampers before raising more funds by shaving off his hair and beard for charity.
The Lionhearts initiative, supported by BT, is paying homage to 23 inspirational individuals who have gone above and beyond during this challenging time for the nation.