Middleton Cheney dad thanks supporters after abuse of dancing Spurs fan daughter

Neil and Ella Markham
Neil and Ella Markham

A Middleton Cheney football fan thanked the tens of thousands of well-wishers in the wake of his Down’s syndrome daughter being trolled for dancing.

Neil Markham’s video of Ella enjoying a band in Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium after the West Ham defeat on Saturday has been viewed more than 2m times and had over 30,000 replies on Twitter.

The initially negative comments sparked an outpouring of support from celebrities, footballers and the general public, with Ella invited to be a mascot at Spurs’ last home game of the season by Harry Kane.

Neil told the Banbury Guardian: “It’s just amazing, it’s been a very tiring week in a positive way but we’re still fighting off idiots.”

Neil said he was in a ‘very low place’ on Saturday night due to the amount of abuse and negative comments about him and Ella.

But by Sunday people were starting to hit back, calling out the trolls and sending messages of support to the family, including former Tottenham players.

The positivity snowballed with famous faces like Piers Morgan, Frank Bruno, Anthony Costa and Rylan Clarke-Neal urging Ella to ‘keep ‘dancing’.

Kieran Trippier messaged Neal personally with his support and Tottenham also got involved, encouraging England captain Kane to invite Ella to the Everton game on May 12.

“It just shows you that for every one horrible person there is in the world, there’s 10,000 decent people and lots of people that think like these people,” Neil said.

“I wouldn’t want them to say it about me but certainly not my daughter or other children or anyone vulnerable, it’s just wrong.”

The support has gathered a lot of interest with national newspapers covering the story, while the pair have featured on This Morning, ITV News and BBC News.

Offers have come in for free pizza - Ella’s favourite - and for the Spurs fans to sing a chant about her, as well as poems and much more.

Neil said Ella, who inspired the formation of charity Ella’s Fund, has some appreciation of what has gone on but is mainly enjoying the attention.

Neil’s direct response to the trolls by replying to many, some with his phone number, and retweeting others has won him plaudits but he says he was doing what any dad would do, adding he is ‘no hero’.