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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 November, 2003, 16:51 GMT
Wilkinson's mother missed goal
Jonny Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson scored the winning goal deep in extra time
Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson's mother missed her son's winning drop goal because she was out shopping.

Philippa Wilkinson - who is too nervous to watch her son play - said she found out about the last-gasp cup final winner from staff on the vegetable counter at her local supermarket in Northumberland.

They later described Mrs Wilkinson's emotional reaction as they dashed up to tell her about England's 20-17 victory in Sydney.

Neighbours in the village of Corbridge where she lives with her husband later came round with flowers and champagne to congratulate them.

We just broke out crying and hugging each other
Marie Heddon on Philippa Wilkinson's reaction

Smiling about the news, Mrs Wilkinson told reporters: "I was in the supermarket and the lady on the vegetable counter heard it.

"I have also had a text message from my husband."

Later Tesco employees Marie Heddon and Ken Thompson described how they began chatting to Mrs Wilkinson about the rugby without knowing who she was.

"She was standing next to us and I said, 'Are you a rugby fan?,' recalled Ms Heddon.

"She said 'I'm Jonny Wilkinson's mum'."

Ms Heddon added that when she came into the store Mrs Wilkinson noticed the rugby on the televisions in the electrical appliances section of the store "and said she thought up north it would be just football but I said 'no, we all like rugby up here as well' ".

Tears and smiles

They kept her updated with the score as she made her way round the shop until her son made the crucial kick that secured the game for England.

"We just broke out crying and hugging each other," said Ms Heddon. "She was smiling and the tears were on her face just like on mine."

Mr Thompson, from Gateshead, said: "When the game was nearly finished I saw him do the drop goal for us and went to go and tell her.

"I said, 'Your son's done it. He's just kicked a drop goal for us, he's won us the World Cup.' All the relief just came out. She was over the moon.

"She started crying and giving Marie a cuddle."

'Going away'

Earlier, as the match was kicking off, Mrs Wilkinson was taking rubbish out at home.

She said: "I am not watching the match."

Asked if she was too nervous to watch her son play in the final she said: "I am going away. Speak to my husband on Monday."

She added that they were an "extremely" private family.





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SEE ALSO:
England win Rugby World Cup
22 Nov 03  |  Rugby World Cup
Jonny Wilkinson
24 Sep 03  |  Players to Watch


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