FC Halifax Town: Super fan Adam set for a special day out at Wembley

Adam Heslop with his mum Samantha, dad Steve and brother Josh. Picture by Darren Murphy
Adam Heslop with his mum Samantha, dad Steve and brother Josh. Picture by Darren Murphy

FC Halifax Town’s big day out at Wembley just wouldn’t be complete without devoted fan Adam Heslop.

Adam, who has a rare genetic condition called Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, which affects muscle control, has missed just one Halifax game in the last four years.

Adam will be one of three Town mascots on the day and lives in Pellon with his mum Sam, his dad and full-time carer Steve and brother Josh.

Sam, who works as a teacher at Sowerby Village Primary School, is determined to make his life as exciting as possible, but says her son’s condition means the family don’t know how much time they have left with him.

“What tends to happen is that something special happens and then the young adult or child passes away.

“So I think it’s so important we always have something to look forward to so he doesn’t feel he’s ever reached the pinnacle of his experiences.

“Doing things like going to Wembley - they’re the kind of things that are really special to him.

“Then it’s looking at the next big thing - maybe we’ll get promoted the year after or something.

“We’re actually going to the play-off final as well so we’ll be there two weeks in a row.”

Adam got on particularly well with former Halifax manager Neil Aspin, who he still regularly visits.

But Sam says the Halifax players also get on very well with her son.

“I feel he really is part of the club,” she said.

“Being at The Shay is comforting for him.

“For Halifax to have taken him under their wing like they have is just amazing.

“The footballers are great with him. Just because they’re footballers doesn’t mean they have to be like that with him.

“Somebody like Adam is very easy to shy away from because his language can be colourful and his comments to people are appalling sometimes.

“But people don’t take offence here which is really nice.

“He had a really special relationship with Ryan Toulson and Phil Senior, and I thought once they left he wouldn’t be as bothered about coming.

“But now he’s got a really nice relationship with Hamza Bencherif.

“When he wins the man of the match and he gets the bottle of champagne, he always gives it to Adam because he can’t drink it because of his religion.

“We were coming down to a match and Adam said he wanted to go to the supermarket in case Hamza gets man of the match again.

“He said ‘what if he gives me his beer’ - Adam calls it his beer - ‘I want to get him some chocolates’.

“As it happened Bencherif did get man of the match and he gave him his champagne and Adam gave him his chocolates.

“I wouldn’t think Adam would have thought of that but his relationship with Hamza is that special that because he gives him something, he wants to give him something back.”

Adam has missed just one Halifax game in the last four years when he was in Brighton seeing specialists in Brighton while Town were playing in FA Cup replay at Guiseley.

Sam says The Shay is like a second home for the family, and that the club’s connection with Adam means a lot.

“A family in our situation understands that you’ve got a limited time with him so you need to make it as special as you can.

“Josh, my other son who is 15, has been to a lot of matches, but it’s his GCSE year so there’s a lot of games he hasn’t been to because he’s been studying.

“But Adam will say ‘will you come Josh, will you promise?’ so he does come along now and again, which is really nice.

“It’s the one thing that, as a family, we all love.

“It can be challenging. Adam’s condition does have challenging behaviours with it.

“He’s never been to the pictures because he’ll never sit through a film.

“He won’t go to a restaurant because his language and behaviour wouldn’t be appropriate.

“But at Halifax, we feel comfortable.

“When Adam starts shouting things and swearing in the hospitality suite, usually nobody bats an eyelid, and I find that so nice not to have to worry about taking him out.

“It’s the only place he’s comfortable being inside. he loves to be out and about.

“He’s a people person. He likes going to Asda and going to the balcony so he can look at all the people walking by.

“Going to The Shay is the only thing we have as a family where we know he’s accepted.”