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David Beckham meets Woody at Brentford Penguins


Woody, who celebrated his 11th birthday yesterday with Becks
Penguins coach Allan Cockram, winner of the Sun’s Unsung Hero award
Romeo Beckham, David and Allan Cockram with the Penguins


Woody with his mum, Natalie O’Rourke, founder of Park Lane Stables, Teddington


Down’s Syndrome superstar Woody, the son of Teddington’s Park Lane Stables founder, Natalie O’Rourke, had a dream come true experience when he got to hang out with football legend DAVID BECKHAM for a special televised awards ceremony.

Woody is known across the football world as a superfan of local Premier League club Brentford, known as The Bees and he is also a member of the Brentford Penguins FC, the UK’s only football team for children with Down’s Syndrome, which was set up by ex-Spurs player Allan Cockram.

Allan, 59, was recognised as the Unsung Hero at The Sun newspaper’s Who Cares Wins awards on Tuesday night and shown on Channel Four tonight. (Sunday)

The ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer as well as a host of celebrities including James Corden, Anthony Joshua, Dame Denise Lewis and Gary Lineker.

David Beckham and his son Romeo, who plays for Brentford B made a surprise visit to a Penguins training session to present the award to Allan.

The Penguins was set up by Allan in 2017 using his own money and welcomes children aged between 5 and 19, some of whom are non-verbal and struggle to be accepted in other clubs.

Allan said: “It’s not like most clubs. I don’t know who is turning up each week because anything can happen that morning that means kids can’t come.

“Maybe they haven’t slept all night, maybe their routine has changed and it’s affected them. They all know anything goes at the Penguins and we’ll give a great session to anyone who turns up.

“Sometimes the kids want to train, sometimes they’re happy just socialising with everyone. Anything goes and everyone’s welcome.”

Allan was nominated for an Unsung Hero award by Vanessa Rowley, whose son, Charlie, 16, has trained with the Penguins for five years.

Vanessa, from Brentwood, Essex, said: “Charlie’s life wouldn’t be the same without the Penguins. Charlie was just about tolerated whenever he tried to join other football teams. “He’d sabotage play and wouldn’t be asked back.

“It was really hard to watch as a parent because he just wanted to join in and he absolutely adores football. When we found the Penguins, it felt like we’d come home. Allan is everything to these kids, they light up when they see him, and he makes them all laugh so much.”

Woody’s mum, Natalie, who received a MBE for her efforts in fund-raising over £1million to save the Stables said: “Becoming part of the Brentford family was life changing for us, as a mum I no longer felt that Woody was on the outside.

“Leading the Brentford team out as mascot in 2017 proved to be an overwhelming and life changing experience for him.  His smile was wider and more infectious than I’d ever seen it and afterwards he signed to me it was the best day of his life. And from that day, he had a focus, a passion and a structure.”

Allan said: “He said: “It’s not like a training session, it’s a carnival of football every Sunday. “I’m by far happier now coaching these kids than I was playing.

“That was a selfish euphoria, this is something bigger and better. They give me tenfold what I give them. I feel so fortunate and blessed to be part of this team. The parents tell me it’s their favourite day of the week. I don’t often say it, but it’s mine too.”

David Beckham, 48, paid a warm tribute to Allan, saying: “It’s so inspiring to see what Allan does — giving up his time, coaching these kids when ­normally they would face so many barriers.

“Instead, they have this team and this coach who they all care about so much. The love for him, the appreciation, is quite remarkable. The kids are amazing.

“Football brings people together, and it means so much to us to be here. and for me to have my son here for such a special moment.

“I always try to inspire my kids — and so to see Allan, and meet him and see what he does for them . . .  there’s nothing I can do for my kids that’s as much as this. At one point I thought I was going to cry.”

See more about Woody’s world of football at

To learn more about the Penguins go to



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