She was geared-up for the biggest game of her life but that didn’t stop Helen Ward’s maternal instinct kicking in when a young mascot was in need. What happened next is simply beautiful...
Moments before Wales' World Cup qualifier against England, super striker Helen Ward turned super mum, as she helped mascot Abigail Gladden overcome her nerves to walk out with the team.
Abi, who plays for Baglan Boys & Girls Club U10, was in the tunnel with her team-mates, ready to lead Jayne Ludlow’s heroes out, in front of a sell-out crowd at Rodney Parade, before nerves kicked-in and the enormity of the occasion made her upset.
But Wales’ all-time top scorer, who’s also a mum-of-two, knew exactly what to do.
The star striker, whose own children, Emily and Charlie, we also at the game, spoke to Abi and calmed her nerves before walking out proudly alongside her.
Abi’s coach Ryan Thomas described Helen’s pre-match actions as ‘brilliant’ but there was more to come.
In the emotional aftermath of Wales’ 3-0 defeat, that ultimately cost World Cup qualification, the star striker, who travelled to Russia at the start of the campaign, just six weeks after giving birth to Charlie, took to social media to reach out to Abi's family.
Twitter - I need your help. Does anyone know or able to put me in touch with the parents of my mascot from last night? (Second from the left) her name is Abbie?? Please help! #WALENG pic.twitter.com/A9sZpZ8jyk— Helen Ward (@helenwardie10) September 1, 2018
Within an hour, her mum Emma was found and a few days later a surprise package arrived in the post.
Helen had sent her treasured shirt from the big match and a delightful letter, which said: “Thank you so much for being my mascot for the England game.
“I hope you had a fab evening. Thanks for the support.”
Her coach says she hasn’t stopped smiling since and the club want to thank Helen for looking after Abi on the night and for this amazing gesture.
Abi’s mum, Emma, said: “She has only been playing football for a couple of months and she loves every minute of it.
“She will treasure this moment forever, and we hope this will encourage her to continue to play"THERE ARE LOTS OF GREAT FEMALE FOOTBALL CLUBS, ACROSS WALES, FOR YOUR DAUGHTER TO JOIN. CLICK HERE TO TAKE A LOOK