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Rupert Visits Harry Potter Fan With Luekaemia

Tony Chapman has lost his nine year battle with luekaemia.

He was just 14.

But three days before his death the Harry Potter fan had a surprise which made the sick youngster extremely happy.

He was visited by Rupert Grint, also 14, who plays Ron Weasley in the movies.

Tony, who was diagnosed with the disease at five, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The Friday before, Rupert paid a visit to Tony, spending the afternoon talking, joking and playing computer games with him.

Tony’s mum and dad Mick and Cheryl had been overcome to see their son so happy with his new friend.

It was the first time he had smiled all week.

Mick explained: “I just can’t tell you how grateful we are to the paper and to Rupert and his family. It makes my heart break that people care so very much.”

Ron had read about Tony Chapman’s illness and special visit to the Harry Potter premiere three weeks ago in the WHT.

Tony’s plight made the young movie star determined to meet him.

The two engrossed themselves in the latest Harry Potter game that Tony had been perfecting all week.

As they played on the computer console they talked about the scariest parts of the new film.

“The spiders were horrible, they were so big, I hate spiders,” said Tony’s sister, Nicola.

Rupert explained: “It was really scary filming that scene, they were so life-like and some of them were massive.”

Tony nodded wildly in agreement and was curious to find out who will play Dumbledore when filming for the third episode begins in February.

“I was wondering that myself, I guess they’ll have to re-cast him,” Rupert said.

Rupert’s mum, Jo, drove him from their home in Hertford and was obviously touched, often having to hold back tears as she spoke with Tony’s mum and dad.

She explained: “They live in the same area, they are the same age and hearing that Tony wanted to see the film so badly, he just wanted to see if he could do anything. Just to see him, talk to him on the phone, just to be his friend, really.”

“It meant a lot to us that he wanted to do something and we were prepared to do what we could.”

Afterwards, Rupert told the WHT: “I saw it in the paper when I came back from school one day and seeing that he was a big fan of Harry Potter I wondered if there was anything I could do.”

“It was hard for me at first, and I was really nervous about meeting him but he was really nice.”

As soon as Rupert left, the family left to spend the weekend at the Milton Hospice, Cambridge, where Tony had chosen to die.

On Monday night they returned because of Tony’s high temperature.

The following morning, mum Cheryl rang the WHT from the hospice and said: “Tony passed away peacefully at five o’clock this morning. He was in no pain at all and had all his family around him.”


Original article no longer online | December 3rd 2002

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