Should you meet your heroes?

If the adage 'never meet your heroes' is correct, that's because a fan's inflated opinion of an idol's skills or talents may make it difficult for them to live up to expectations. Put simply, there's a real chance they will let you down. Not always, though.

Callum Price's hero was Australian motorbike stunt rider and world record breaker Robbie Maddison. Famous for stunts such as jumping London's Tower Bridge with a backflip and winning 'best trick' at the Red Bull X-Fighters Championship, Maddison caught Callum's eye as a youngster.

"I'd been riding motorbikes since I was four. I'd watched Robbie's daredevil stunts on TV," says Price, 20.

"He looked like a genuine bloke. I thought, if I could ask him about what gets him in the mindset to do those jumps, that's what I need to hear."

There was poignant circumstance behind the meeting. Price, from Wagga Wagga, had been ill for most of his life with kidney failure.

"Throughout my life, I didn't have much to look forward to," says Price.

"I was in hospital a lot. Then I was told I had three months to live unless I had a kidney transplant. The first year after the transplant was really hard. That's when mum contacted Make-a-Wish."

Make-a-Wish grants life-changing wishes to provide seriously ill people like Price with hope, strength and joy.

"The optimism that gave me in hospital lifted me," Price says. "I was quite down, away from all my mates."


Big expectations were set ahead of the meeting: "In a funny way, it felt like we'd already met. Like Robbie was the best mate I hadn't seen in ages."

In 2012, Price flew to Rome to meet his lifelong hero. The meeting didn't quite go as expected.

"I was nervous and went in for the handshake. Robbie rejected that. He gave me a big hug instead," Price says.

"It was a hug I'll never forget. He surprised me because he detected my accent and said 'You're my Aussie brother'. Straight away, he got my mind off my kidneys. We were talking like best mates within seconds."

However Price concedes that not many deserve the hero mantle.

"I've met a few famous people - I won't names names - but they've looked at me like 'I want this kid gone'. Robbie wasn't like that," he says.

"Two hours in, a staff member said he had two minutes to prepare for his next practice race. Robbie said: 'I'm with Callum - this is more important.'

"He really got me through those tough two years."

Not only did the meeting cement Maddison as a hero in Price's eyes, but it impacted his self-perception.

"Before my transplant, I was a bit of a terror," he says. " Then it hit home; I could be that for someone. Like Robbie was for me. He changed a life. So could I."

Price is now a Make-a-Wish ambassador.

For Sydney teacher Craig Mills, the pedestal was lowered when he met TV scientist, Professor Robert Winston.

"I loved how he made biology accessible. He sparked a lifelong interest in science," he says.

Although Mills was "really nervous" before he met him - "I arrived two hours early and just wandered the streets", he needn't have been. He said the illusion was" shattered - but not completely shattered".

Mills, 35, met Winston on UK TV show Jamie's Dream School; where Jamie Oliver tried to excite disaffected pupils about education by hiring leaders at the top of their field. Winston was top dog for biology.

"They needed a qualified science teacher to advise on the show, which was me," Mill says.

Having such unique access to one of the world's most recognisable scientists gave him a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse.

"Seeing it from the other side, I realised that he isn't solely responsible for my admiration. A lot of people help in making such programs," Mills says.

"Now I know he's a public figure in this."

So, does he still hero-worship the TV scientist?

"I still admire him for inspiring me and many others to get into science, but certainly don't see him as a hero-like figure any more," Mills says.

Brisbane-born, guitar-mad David Beaufoy, 24, met the three founding Farriss Brothers from the rock band INXS (Andrew, Jon and Tim) in 2011 whilst working for a record label.

"I had to try to keep my emotions in check and remain professional. Gushing fan-boy isn't a great look," he says.

The "life-changing" meeting left Beaufoy even more of a fan than before.

"It was a shock to experience how grounded and friendly three men who conquered the globe could be. It really put me at ease," Beaufoy says.

"The fact the rock star persona can switch off proves to me that underneath it all there are often just good people like anyone else - and your hero can be that for more than just their craft."