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Front page tribute to footballer who lost daughter at birth

A footballer who lost his daughter at birth before playing in an historic victory for his club was honoured on a regional daily’s front page.

The Bournemouth Echo paid tribute to Harry Arter, who featured in AFC Bournemouth’s victory over Manchester United on Saturday despite suffering the tragedy earlier in the week.

Yesterday’s Echo front page, pictured below, was dedicated to Arter, who played during most of the 2-1 win which saw his team-mates don black armbands as a mark of respect.

In a comment piece for the newspaper, Echo deputy editor Neil Meldrum praised Arter’s bravery and mentioned having gone through a similar experience in the past himself.

Bournemouth Man United front

Wrote Neil: “Arter played a game of football on Saturday at the end of the week which could shape him.

“The emotions he feels now will get stronger, more dominant, before they ease enough for life to go on. But they will never go away completely.

“This correspondent has been in the place Arter finds himself now. But this correspondent didn’t play 86 minutes against Manchester United just days later with that level of performance.

“It was astonishing strength and bravery from a man who, alongside Howe, tells the AFC Bournemouth story almost without the need for words.”

Bournemouth are currently experiencing their first ever season in England’s top division, and last Monday the Echo ran a special front page wrap following the club’s surprise win over reigning champions Chelsea.

Saturday was the first time Bournemouth had met 20-time champions United in a league game.

Neil told HTFP: “In many ways, Harry Arter epitomises the rapid rise of the football club. Bought from non-league for just £4,000, he has been on the club’s journey from League One to the Premier League.

“The supporters have an amazing rapport with him and for him to play at the level he did on Saturday after losing his daughter showed remarkable bravery.

“It’s been an amazing two weeks for everyone at the club after the wins against Chelsea and Manchester United, but the true spirit of Eddie Howe’s team has been shown yet again in the way they have rallied around their team-mate when he needed them most.”


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  • December 15, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Cracking front page and sounds like a really well written piece by Neil.

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  • December 16, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I’m writing as a consumer of Neil’s work and want to say how well he echoed the mood in the town and put into words the thoughts we had in our heads. He gave substance to our sympathy.
    His judgement in relating his own experience of a similar tragedy was sensitive and completely empathetic.
    I don’t think this delicate but inspiring story could have been handled any better.

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  • December 21, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Sometimes football takes second place to the background story and this was one such case. This story recognized the importance of the football result but kept the focus on the human tragedy story of Harry Arter and his wife’s loss during the week. Sensitively handled in a way that honoured Harry without adding to his sorrow. Well done Bournemouth Echo.

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  • December 22, 2015 at 10:58 am

    The front page was sad but wonderful. The article by Neil Meldrum did make me cry, beautifully written, so poignant and respectful. Thank you to the daily echo & especially Neil for their sensitive handling of it. The football result was irrelevant, our football family came together though to show our love for one of our own. Our local paper played a huge part in letting Harry & Rachel know they were in all ours thoughts and hearts, as are Neil and his wife – they are part of our extended football family as well. Well done Bournemouth Echo.

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