A Hartlepool youngster is inspiring people to beat the bullies after starring in a hit video with a YouTube star.
Nine-year-old Harley Crate-Lionel, from Mainsforth Terrace, was given the incredible opportunity to meet YouTube prankster Ben Phillips after the star heard about the youngster being bullied.
The St Joseph’s Primary pupil had set up his own YouTube channel, Harley lion 08, at the start of the year and was bullied for having just six followers.
But after his dad Charlie, 40, put a post on Facebook about his sons’s plight asking people to like and follow his account, Ben’s YouTube manager Adam Lynch got in touch to arrange a meeting with the star.
Mum-of four Angela, 33, said the family travelled down to Bridgend in Wales last month to film a video for Ben’s YouTube channel.
She said: “Harley’s dad put a post on sportster bikes Facebook page about Harley being upset by the bullying and Ben’s manager saw the post and emailed me to arrange for us to go down to meet Ben and do some filming.
“Harley has been a fan of Ben since the beginning and knows all of his videos.
“The meeting was a total surprise for Harley and it was a surreal experience.
“As soon as we got there the cameras were rolling and everything you see in the video is real.”
During the video Harley gets to drive round in a flash car, stay at a top hotel in Cardiff and takes part in a prank.
Ben takes the time to speak to Harley about his issues with bullying and the struggles he has at home with his autistic sister Chardonnay, aged eight.
The star gives him advice on tackling the bullies and says how Harley can use the block button to ‘block the bullies’ and stop them from bothering him.
Harley now has 42,253 subscribers to his YouTube channel and wants to help other people cope with bullying through his videos.
Mum Angela said that the experience has had a huge impact on her son, boosting his confidence and enabling him to speak up to tackle the problem.
She said: “Since going on Ben’s channel he has grown in confidence. “If people said negative things to him in the past he used to get really upset, but now he knows how to deal with it.
“He wants to get it out there that it doesn’t matter whether you are an adult or a child, bullying is not OK and they need to speak up.”