Ribble Valley rallies to help brave cancer victim Sam (8)

Pupils at Gisburn Primary School wear hats made by pupil Libby Smith in aid of CLIC Sargent.'Photo Ben Parsons
Pupils at Gisburn Primary School wear hats made by pupil Libby Smith in aid of CLIC Sargent.'Photo Ben Parsons

BRAVE eight-year-old Sam Smith isn’t alone as he fights lymphoma in his hospital bed. His family and friends are rallying round in a frenzy of fund-raising to raise Sam’s spirits and help other children like him.

Sister Libby (11) is making crazy fleece hats to sell to friends at Gisburn Primary School and cousin Isobel Smith (6) had her shoulder-length hair cut off as the whole school watched and cheered.

IN HOSPITAL: Sam with sister Libby.

IN HOSPITAL: Sam with sister Libby.

Staff and pupils really flipped for charity in a school pancake marathon that raised £225, two girls in Libby’s class donated money they made washing cars, and now pupils are coming up with their own ideas for more fund-raising events. And to help put a shine on it all, Sam’s uncle Mick Smith had his head shaved at The Barber Shop in York Street, Clitheroe, to raise £400 for the Lymphoma Association.

Sam, who lives with parents Becky and Ian Smith on a farm at Rimington, was diagnosed in the middle of January with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Until then, he had been like any other active little boy, running and swimming, playing football with Clitheroe Wolves and going to Cub Scouts in Gisburn.

Now he is being treated in Manchester Children’s Hospital and is slowly recovering from his first course of chemotherapy, in preparation for his second.

Cousin Isobel, who lives at Rimington with parents Harriet and Michael, hit on her hair-raising stunt after she learned that children like Sam lose their hair through treatment for cancer. She wanted her long hair made into a wig for a child without hair, so mum and dad agreed she could have it cut off during school assembly. The Gisburn pupils cheered as village hairdresser Lucy Boothman snipped at her tresses and left left her with a neat bob. The hair has gone to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which supplies children’s wigs.

HEADS UP: Sam's uncle, Mick Smith, after being shorn for lymphoma research.

HEADS UP: Sam's uncle, Mick Smith, after being shorn for lymphoma research.

The sponsor money Isobel is raising – more than £2,200 so far – is going to the ward where Sam is being treated and cared for, and donations can still be made to: www.justgiving.com/IsobelsBigHairCut

Afterwards Angela Harris from Central Manchester Hospitals NHS Trust Charity told the children all about the hospital and what the money may be used for.

Meanwhile, Sam’s sister Libby has raised more than £700 for the CLIC Sargent charity by making nice warm fleece hats to sell at school, and the money is still coming on her pledge site www.justgiving.com/HairLossHats. Uncle Mick’s head-shave stunt is also still open for donations at www.justgiving.com/WibbSmithy

Johnson Matthey in Clitheroe have also made a generous donation to the CLIC Sargent fund-raising as they have CLIC Sargent as their charity of the year.

Sam’s mum Becky said: “We really appreciate all the support we have been getting from everyone, and the support for the charities. It’s good to know that people are concerned about Sam, and it gives him a bit of a boost.”

The head of Gisburn Primary School, Mrs Catherine Grimshaw, said: “Sam’s a very popular boy, and our pupils have rallied round and worked really hard.

“They’ve been sending him videos of what’s been happening at the school to help cheer him up, and they’ve said they want to come up with their own ideas to raise money.”

Sam’s aunt Harriet added: “The school have been great, really supportive of Sam and all our family. It’s been an unbelievable two months and there is a hard road ahead, but support from everyone around us really helps.”