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WE were in Bucharest last weekend, and I was intending to tell you all about the Romanian capital, which is a fascinating place, as the country tries to make up for decades of Communist rule. They are making progress but have a long way to go.
I want to tell you about one person of the many we met, all of whom were friendly and helpful.
On Sunday morning our man in Bucharest as it were, Peter Tweedie, asked if we would go along and meet a friend of his.
The young man’s name is George and two years ago he was playing in a game of rugby for his club team, when he was involved in a freak accident, and George is now a wheelchair user and has no movement from the chest down.
George is an intelligent young man who speaks some English, a lot more than I speak Romanian, and Peter took us to where he lives in the back streets of Bucharest.
George’s parents are not poor, but believe me they are not rich by a long way, and they live with George, his brother and sister, in a small basement flat, reached by going down a narrow flight of stairs.
Every time George goes out, they have to get him up the narrow steps and through a low doorway and back into his wheelchair.
Believe me, if you think some of our streets and buildings are wheelchair unfriendly, then go to Bucharest, where walking the pavements is an adventure.
George’s bedroom has been done out by his friends in Romanian rugby as a sort of changing rooms project, but he gets no government funding of note, and people like Peter have organised events and collections to help him.
He has just enrolled in a college course – he is very upbeat and a charming young man. His mother brought out some superb homemade cakes, jam and cheese, and we were made so very welcome.
George and his mum came to the game against the Warriors in the afternoon.
You will no doubt have heard and read about the sad death of Dan James, who was also badly injured playing rugby two years ago, and it’s not for me to comment, except that I feel very sorry for his family.
I’ll remember a lot of Bucharest but will remember George for much longer than the game, the food, the sights and the sounds, and will be doing something to help him in the future.
If you want to help as well, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got back home on Monday evening and on Tuesday afternoon took Wolfie up the Beacon and you get a lot of time to think up there.
I have played sport all my adult life, it has given me a living, it can be exhilarating, exciting, beautiful and uplifting, but it can also be cruel and tragic.
* Dave Bradley is the BBC Hereford & Worcester sports correspondent
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