Julie Neville, wife of former England footballer Phil Neville, has called out a school bully who made her daughter cry during a PE lesson.
Isabella, 11, who has cerebral palsy, overheard complaints from a male classmate during a swimming lesson, in which he kept complaining that having her on his team left them ‘disadvantaged.’
After the incident, Isabella came home from school ‘sobbing’ and ‘feeling ’embarrassed and ashamed’ of her disability.
Mum Julie took to Instagram to speak out about her daughter being made to feel inadequate because of her condition, posting a sweet photo of Isabella with a caption explaining what had happened.
‘Felt heartbroken today when our beautiful daughter came out of school sobbing feeling “embarrassed and ashamed” of her disability when a boy in her PE class (which was relay swimming) openly shouted on several occasions that his team were disadvantaged and that they didn’t want “her” on their team! Whilst she stood and listened to him arguing about it openly,’ she wrote.
The mum of two praised her daughter for not letting her condition stop her from doing whatever she wants, saying:
‘She is willing to jump in that pool and compete against every other able bodied child which takes guts and determination.
‘The only one who should feel ashamed is the boy who complained as he obviously likes the tact, manners and respect that we have instilled into our children.’
Julie ended on a positive note, expressing her pride in her daughter.’As for me, the word that springs to mind is proud, every single day! #rantoftheday’
The couple have spoken out before about how proud they are of Isabella’s strong determination, and how far she has come despite the odds.
Isabella was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 18 months old, and doctors had warned her parents that she would most likely only have 24 hours to live. After she survived that initial period, doctors said that she may never walk, but Isabella overcame the odds again and can now walk using leg splints.
Phil, Julie and Isabella pictured at the couple’s wedding in 2007
The family live in Valencia, where Isabella and the couple’s elder son Harvey attend Caxton College, a British school where Phil also works as a coach.
Julie’s Instagram followers responded with sympathy and positivity, applauding the mother for standing up for her daughter.
‘This is heartbreaking to read, sending you all a big hug. I remember your beautiful daughter helping my son on sports day at St Bede’s’ wrote user @vicchoi71.
‘This boy has obviously never seen the Paralympics! Isabella you are a beautiful young lady don’t ever let anyone bring you down or feel ashamed of your disability, that’s coming from an older lady Who also has cerebral palsy’ wrote user @saraburtonwood.