Young diabetic to represent countryBy Tim Harris
August 16, 2012
A YOUNG footballer from Farnborough who has diabetes has been picked to play for the UK in an international football tournament.
Christopher Ratcliffe, of Canterbury Gardens, was selected from more than 1,100 hopefuls for the UK ‘elite team’ that will compete in the Junior Cup Diabetes later this month.
Twelve different countries and more than 130 children will compete in the tournament, which is being held in the Olympic Stadium in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Eleven-year-old Christopher, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged five, said: “I am looking forward to it, I can’t wait. I am looking forward to playing football for the UK and seeing all the other countries. I have never been to Switzerland before.”
The young football star, who is named after his father, plays as an attacking midfielder for local team Frimley Green Blades.
Rosie Ratcliffe, 48, Christopher’s mother, added: “We were absolutely over the moon when we got the phone call to say he had been picked. We could not believe it really. We were delighted, he was delighted. I am really, really proud. Christopher has a passion for football, he loves it.”
Mrs Ratcliffe added: “He is quite shy and quite reserved really but when he has the ball at his feet he comes out of his shell.
“There is certainly no shyness on the football pitch – he loves playing for a team. His confidence has grown a lot.”
Mrs Ratcliffe replied to an email from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and Christopher had to fill out an application to describe why he would like to represent his country.
The family were then told the young star had got through to the final 50 children, and Christopher went for a training day with the Football Association (FA) coaches at Wembley Stadium, in London. The rest, as they say, is history.
Christopher has to take regular injections of insulin for his diabetes, as well as blood glucose checks, and a nurse from Frimley Park Hospital visits him twice a week.