Preston's sports teams get a royal seal of approval

On his final visit of the day, Harry met football and wheelchair basketball players at the University of Central Lancashire sports arena in Preston.

Monday, 23rd October 2017, 5:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:54 am
Helen Gregson, 35, gives Prince Harry a hug during his visit to the Sir Tom Finney Soccer Development Centre and the Lancashire Bombers Wheelchair Basketball Club at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) sports arena in Preston

He watched training sessions for refugees and women's teams from the Sir Tom Finney Soccer Development Centre.

Among the players he spoke to was Sami Hary, 21, who moved to the UK from Sudan when he was 15.

Mr Hary said: "There are people from different backgrounds in the club.

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Helen Gregson, 35, gives Prince Harry a hug during his visit to the Sir Tom Finney Soccer Development Centre and the Lancashire Bombers Wheelchair Basketball Club at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) sports arena in Preston

"There are some others from Sudan and people from Somalia and Afghanistan and other places.

"Prince Harry asked me if I was happy in England, which obviously I am.

"I don't believe I have met him, it's like a dream.

"He makes you feel like you are his friend."

All smiles: The Prince poses for team pictures

Charlotte Chalder, 16, said she spoke to the prince about the success of the women's team.

She said: "He pouted at me because I said we hadn't lost a game! He was so nice."

Helen Gregson, 35, who plays for the Lancashire Bombers Wheelchair Basketball Club said she was "gobsmacked" when Harry gave her a hug after watching some of their training session.

She said: "I was overwhelmed."

Helen Gregson, 35, gives Prince Harry a hug during his visit to the Sir Tom Finney Soccer Development Centre and the Lancashire Bombers Wheelchair Basketball Club at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) sports arena in Preston

Club member Greg Dunnings, 26, met Harry for the third time, having met him in Canada after winning gold and silver medals in rowing at the Invictus games.

Mr Dunnings, who was injured in an IED blast in Helmand province in 2009, said he had started playing wheelchair basketball while recovering and began rowing last year.

He said: "Harry talked to me about the Invictus games and I explained how adaptive sports have helped me.

"I think clubs like this are massively important and I love coming down here."

All smiles: The Prince poses for team pictures

Both the soccer development centre and the Lancashire Bombers are involved with sports development charity Sported, which Harry has an existing connection with.