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Boy with incurable heart condition forfeits birthday presents to help Glasgow homeless

A 10-year-old altar server from St Augustine’s Church in Coatbridge has chosen to help the homeless on his birthday this year rather than receive gifts — By Colette Cooper

Harry Spalding gave up birthday presents and instead provided warm clothing and hot food for homeless people in Glasgow on Saturday October 5.

Harry turned 10 on Wednesday October 9, and during the approach to his birthday, he decided that he wanted to help those less fortunate.

Harry’s mother, Anne Marie Spalding, said: “He said that he had everything he wanted and needed in life, so instead he wanted to help the homeless in lieu of gifts.

“He is a sensitive and thoughtful boy, and always puts others first.”


Harry and his mother went shopping and bought warm winter clothing, made up bags with provisions and handed them out in the streets of Glasgow along with hot food.

“Harry approached lots of people who were begging on the streets and spoke to them individually. It was an extremely proud moment for us as his parents, albeit humbling also,” Mrs Spalding said.

She added that Harry was ‘very touched and saddened’ to see the way that some people live, and has decided to do continue his support of the homeless on a monthly basis.

Harry was born with a rare congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart, which means only half of his heart has developed. Due to this, he had open heart surgery three times in the first three years of his life.

Special lad

Mrs Spalding said: “His condition is incurable and he will require a heart transplant at some point. We were told that he wouldn’t have a full life and would struggle, but we have been blessed with the happiest and healthiest wee boy.”

She added that Harry was ‘very special’ to Canon John Healy, a retired priest of Motherwell Diocese who died in September.

“Harry was very special to Canon John Healy, may he rest in peace, who prayed for him every day and his power of prayer has given us this special boy.

“Harry is now an altar server at St Augustine’s in Coatbridge and we thank God for him every day,” his mother added.

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