BLOG: #bemorebailey - Why Worksop’s viral sensation Bailey Matthews was made for the internet
Bailey Matthews is an internet sensation, for the best possible reasons.
In a social media world where, increasingly, people get famous for seemingly very little at all, the eight-year-old from Worksop has become a worldwide star on the back of a genuine achievement.
The video footage of Bailey, who suffers from cerebral palsy, finishing his first ever triathlon, unaided, despite falling before the finish line, has gone viral.
Thanks to that YouTube clip, the Redlands pupil has been shared, liked, retweeted and written about in countries around the planet.
Appearances on BBC Breakfast and Look North have followed the online whirlwind.
He’s made for the internet.
I first became aware of Bailey in October 2014 by a happy coincidence.
Stood at the finish line of the Worksop Half Marathon, I was filming the winner, Stuart Spencer, charging down the home straight.
In the background, however, stealing the limelight and the cheers of the crowd, was Bailey.
He was just finishing the event’s fun run, flanked by dad Jonathan who was carrying the now famous adapted walking frame.
That huge smile, that has beamed around the world, lit up the damp, cold Autumnal gloom.
Bailey took in the applause, crossed the line, shook hands with a furry mascot and stopped the timer on his watch.
It was that action that caught my attention, amid the obvious emotion accompanying the sight of a young boy overcoming and achieving despite his condition.
Just like all the other runners, Bailey wanted to know how he had performed – he wasn’t just there to take part.
So it wasn’t a huge shock when I realised he had progressed to triathlons.
And the fact that his achivement resonates with people all over the globe isn’t a shock.
People want to be inspired, they want to see other people beat the odds to achieve and they love a good cry.
If countless millions have watched him fall and pick himself up to complete the triathlon, then it’s a safe bet that millions have blinked back a tear.
Facebook is a horrendous place to be at times, with scaremongering, moaning, bitternes, hate and cat videos.
Everyone loves a good news story however, and Bailey is just that.
His proud uncle John has been furiously retweeting the many, many links to stories about Bailey, and took a liking to a hashtag coined by Twitter user @MrDomHarrison - #bemorebailey
Personally, I hope we see more Bailey.
At the tender age of eight he has already inspired people from all walks of life, in countries he’ll probably never visit, and I wouldn’t bet against him hitting the headlines again in the near future.