Heroic Harmonie-Rose Allen was given a special Christmas call-up to England’s Lionhearts squad, with Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate welcoming her to St. George’s Park for the announcement.
The six year old from Bath was named in the squad of 23 and given shirt number six, following her charity work in 2020 which saw her raise almost £75,000 for Meningitis Now.
Harmonie-Rose was just ten months old when she suffered from Meningococcal septicaemia, which saw her have both legs and arms amputated in order to save her life.
And this year saw her take on the 2.6 Challenge, which was launched following the postponement of the 2020 London Marathon and involved activities including the figures two and six.
You’re a little star, Harmonie-Rose 🌟@Hope4Harmonie has overcome so much in her life and inspired so many. We wanted to give her a special surprise this Christmas – with a little help from Gareth Southgate! pic.twitter.com/JbpJ8mwwlQ— England (@England) December 24, 2020
With Harmonie-Rose and her family told of so many activities which she wouldn’t be able to do in life, she decided to do six of those things 26 times, including running, swimming, writing, gymnastics, singing and jumping.
She smashed her initial target amount by raising over £1500 in just a matter of hours and a few days later had collected more than £50,000.
This led to over 150 nominations for Harmonie-Rose to be included in the Lionhearts squad before our panel, including Southgate, narrowed it down to the final 23.
And Southgate himself was waiting at the national football centre in Burton to surprise Harmonie-Rose and her parents, who had just finished reading a Christmas card from the England boss when he took time out to find out more about her story and fundraising.
“It’s been amazing meeting you,” Southgate told Harmonie-Rose.
“We’re all very proud of you and we’re proud to have you in our Lionhearts squad and thank you for sharing your story with me.”
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 and kicked-off with Captain Sir Tom Moore being named as the group's skipper.
The squad so far...
1.Captain Sir Tom Moore – Record-breaking centenarian who raised more than £32million for NHS Charities Together
2. Ranjit Singh – The wrestling coach from Wolverhampton helped organise daily meals for 300 people and the distribution of PPE equipment
5. Betty-Leigh Allinson – Football shirt enthusiast aged five who has raised over £27,000 for a Hertfordshire hospice through a cycling feat
6. Harmonie-Rose Allen - Inspirational meningitis survivor and fundraiser, who raised over £75k through her own 2.6 Challenge
7. Imogen Papworth-Heidel - The young footballer embarked on a mission to do a keepie-uppie for every keyworker in the UK and raised over £10,000 for nine charities in the process.
8. Mehdi Tahero - His restaurant Fuel Catering helped to feed frontline workers and members of the local community in Plymouth throughout 2020.
9. Tobias Weller – Nine-year-old inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to raise almost £150,000 for Sheffield-based charities
10. Joe Wicks - The YouTube fitness coach led the nation and beyond through a daily exercise class for 18 weeks during lockdown.
11. Dr Meenal Viz & Dr Nishant Joshi - Couple campaigning for better PPE for their NHS colleagues.
12. Nana Badu – His organisation, BADU Sports, provided a helpline, food bank and deliveries to vulnerable members of the local community in Hackney.
13. Dr Sadif Rafiq - The Cheshire-based GP suffered twice from COVID-19 but continued to tirelessly support her patients.
14. Kian Cormier - The teenager produced visors for his local community in Surrey, while continuing his studies.
15. Hassan Akkad – Award-winning film maker who answered a call to be a cleaner in his local hospital before raising awareness of NHS bereavement fund
16. Akbar Khan - Bradford-based volunteer for a charity for people with disabilities who brought their community together during COVID-19 lockdown
17. Ayesha Pakravan - The chef set up Vital Meals during lockdown and went on to provide over 15,000 free meals to people in London
18. Dema Aktaa - Syrian refugee who helped raise money for COVID-19 outbreaks in refugee camps by walking on her prosthetic leg.
19. Tony Hudgell - Celebrated young fundraiser who raised £1.6m for the hospital which saved his life as a baby.
20. Ian Alcorn - Family man who turned camping in his garden into more than £200,000 for the NHS.
21. Emdad Rahman - The Barking-based volunteer ran a service delivering books around London on his bike throughout lockdown.
22. Daniel Sukula – Community leader from Bolton who, after being saved from deportation back to DR Congo, founded a centre for disadvantaged youths.
23. Jay Flynn - The virtual quizmaster helped raise money for multiple charities and entered the Guinness Book of Records during lockdown