Joe Allen is clearly an excellent brother, as well as a promising footballer…
Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen has spoken out for the first time about his brother Harry, who lost his hearing after suffering from meningitis at the age of just three.
Harry’s struggles have now led Joe to become the ambassador of Welsh charity Action on Hearing Loss Cymru – who he claims massively helped his family after the initial impact of the illness.
Allen, who was quoted by the Daily Mirror, said: “Action on Hearing Loss Cymru is a cause very close to my heart. My older brother was just three years old when he contracted meningitis.
“Luckily he survived, but he lost his hearing. I was only a baby at the time and my parents were faced with the prospect of learning a new way of communicating with Harry, while raising me and my sister.
“Charities like Action on Hearing Loss Cymru were an incredible support to them at the time and we were lucky to get the support that we did.
“Mum went on to learn sign language and I’ve had a go at learning it, but Harry’s speech and lipreading are fantastic so I’ve never really needed to use it much.”
However, Allen was quick to praise his brother, who he points out has done anything other than feel sorry for himself. He added “When we were younger, Harry was actually a much better footballer than me.
“I think it was playing with him that really helped me in my career. I can’t imagine playing football without the ability to hear advice and encouragement from the coach and my teammates.
“Yet growing up, Harry found the other players were always considerate of his hearing impairment and I don’t think it held him back at all!”