Like most 8-year-olds, Luca Bailey is football mad. A huge Liverpool fan, Luca is showing similar star quality to his red’s idol and fellow striker, Roberto Firmino, after being named Manager’s Player of the Year for his club, Eccleston and Heskin FC.
A proud Luca with his Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation medal and certificate
In October 2016, Luca’s grandad, Pańe, was diagnosed with lung cancer and died after a short battle in January. His funeral was a day after Luca’s 8th birthday. Due to the timing, his parents promised him a football party in the summer.
When the time came, Luca decided he wanted to have the party in memory of his grandad and asked his 22 friends to make a donation instead of getting him a birthday present. His mum, Alison, recalls the day:
“It was a fantastic, albeit rather crazy, day – what can you expect with 22 in the house! Thankfully the weather was kind and we had a football tournament and a bbq. Everyone got a little trophy with ‘Luca’s Football Tournament’ engraved in it.
“We couldn’t believe how generous people were with their donations. Luca was so proud at the amount he raised and loves the medal he got from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
"Luca didn’t go to the funeral but instead wrote a letter to his grandad which his dad read out at the service. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when he spoke out the telescope he received for Christmas and how he could use it to watch for grandad."
Luca was very close to his grandad, Pańe
“Luca and his grandad were close and football was always part of the conversation. His grandad would always ask him how his football was going and they were both keen Liverpool fans.
“Luca didn’t go to the funeral but instead wrote a letter to his grandad which his dad read out at the service. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when he spoke out the telescope he received for Christmas and how he could use it to watch for grandad.
Every goal he now scores is for his grandad."