Cerebral palsy sufferer Jude Aston was in his New Cross Hospital bed when Aston Villa striker Cameron Archer and Wolves defender Marcal gave him messages of support and sent him some Old Gold goodies.
Jude is a budding football reporter with his own YouTube channel – Jude’s Journey - but his illnesses have curtailed his content this year.
In the video, Cameron, 20, who scored a hat-trick in the Carabao Cup against Barrow earlier this season, said: "Hi Jude, Cameron Archer from Aston Villa here. I know you’ve had a tough year, but I just want to let you know – never give up on your dreams, have a merry Christmas."
Wolves defender Marcal says: “I know you’re a massive football fan, so here’s something from Wolves that you will enjoy, and have a merry Christmas.”
Jude said: "Thank you so much – it was a shock and a surprise! I didn’t expect it. It’s made my Christmas and my whole year. It’s been a tough few months for me so it’s nice to end it on a positive.
"Thanks too to Cameron and Marcal. Cameron is a great up and coming striker and it’s great to see him and Marcal take the time out to do this for me. They might be rivals on the pitch, but not off it.”
Jude’s journey into the media world began four years ago reporting on matches his school football for Highfields TV, the school’s own channel. An online plea then resulted in stars getting in touch for a chat.
He said: "It’s been a whirlwind few years interviewing some great personalities. Unfortunately, because of my condition it’s stopped over the last year, but hopefully I can get back to it soon."
Jude was admitted to hospital on August 12 after his right leg reacted to surgery in January 2020. His leg has gone into ‘defence mode’ whereby any slight touch sparks excruciating pain.
"My pain system doesn’t work, it’s my body’s way of protecting itself and there’s no direct way it can be managed. It’s very unpredictable."
Jude has been a patient at the nationally commissioned specialist centre Bath Centre for Pain Services which provides pain rehabilitation for people with chronic pain of all ages for a year, and admits it’s a long road to a full recovery.
He said: "I’m having psychology meetings regularly and it’s working but it’s a very slow process and sometimes doesn’t go to plan. Hopefully it will continue to improve."
Jude is waiting for the family home to be converted to assisted living accommodation so he can live downstairs with full wheelchair access, which is expected to be complete in summer 2022.
Born and bred in Penn, everyone always asks why is he a Villa fan?
He said: "My dad Dave’s family are Wolves fans and my mum Emma’s family are from Birmingham and are Villa fans, and, when it came to point where I needed to choose a club, as my surname is Aston, I decided to support Villa."