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The French People Made An Incredibly Touching Gesture Towards This Young Irish Fan

The French People Made An Incredibly Touching Gesture Towards This Young Irish Fan
By Conall Cahill
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At the start of the Euro 2016 championships, we were contacted and told about a remarkable young man named Jamie. Jamie and his father were getting ready to embark on an adventure across the fine plains of France, supporting their beloved Republic of Ireland.

And they were doing it in style.

Jamie would be following the Boys in Green in the slickest piece of gear known to man. His 'pimped' wheelchair featured tricolour wheels signed by the squad, flags and a fine banner on the back with the moniker 'Jamie On Tour'. Jamie's flamboyantly expressive supporting of his side elucidated the sort of spirit that Irish fans have.

A spirit that has captured the imagination of France.

This spirit was demonstrated perfectly by an unfortunate twist in Jamie's story. The other day Jamie announced via Facebook that his flag had been stolen from outside the camper home he was sharing with his father in Bordeaux.

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The news was immediately picked up on by Irish fans, and the act widely denounced. Fans (including the ever-conscientious members of the Balls.ie Euro 2016 Facebook Group) shared the news in an effort to re-unite Jamie and his flag. But instead it was the French people who stood up and intervened in a way that would restore one's faith in humanity.

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As is reported in French media today, upon the people of Bordeaux hearing what had happened to Jamie, they were horrified and sprung to action to make amends. Calls were made and skills put to use as a new flag was manufactured and presented to the young fan just as he departed from his camp site.

One of the key individuals involved, known simply as 'Pascal the designer', had some touching words when asked about the motive behind the community's actions.

We didn't want him to leave Bordeaux with a bad image of our region. The Irish have presented such a beautiful image of supporters-I have kids, it has touched me. This is just a small, symbolic gesture.

We are quite fond of saying how great our fans are, but the French aren't bad either, judging by this demonstration of kindness. One does get the sense that, like in Poland four years ago, the Irish fans are endearing themselves to the country that has welcomed them in for the tournament.

The French-Irish love-in continues-until Sunday at least-and stories like this make one realise that a tournament like this is about so much more than what happens on the pitch. It is about bringing people of different cultures and communities together; it is about moments shared and memories made.

No doubt this tournament has given young Jamie enough memories to last a lifetime.

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