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£17,000 pulled in by newspaper's cancer appeal

A charity aerobathon run by the Bracknell News has raised £17,000 to help children with cancer.

Hundreds of people gave up their Sunday morning to pack Bracknell’s sports centre for the first big event in the newspaper’s Sebastian Gates Action Against Cancer appeal.

The appeal is in memory of Sebastian, who died of the disease on Christmas Eve, aged nine years old. One of his last wishes was to raise enough money to build a holiday home by the sea for children with cancer and their families to give them time away together.

Senior reporter Sarah Clark heard about Seb’s battle with illness while covering her patch, Ascot, more than a year ago.

Even then Seb was raising money, at that time to help the hospital where he was being treated.

The idea for the campaign to build a holiday home first came about when, days before he died, Seb asked Sarah to put something in the Bracknell News asking readers to come up with fundraising ideas.

Sarah said: “When I met Sebastian just ten days before he died to discuss the appeal, it was hard to believe that despite being in considerable discomfort himself, here was a little boy who was still thinking about how he could help other children and their families going through the same thing.

“His courage was both inspiring and humbling. And I think it was this selflessness which Sebastian showed which captured people’s imaginations and which encouraged people so many people to support the aerobathon and the appeal.”

There are very few holiday home facilities available for families of sick children in the UK and those that there are have dauntingly long waiting lists.

The charity is plugged weekly in the newspaper, which has also designed the charity’s logo that is used on badges, letterheads and all promotional material.

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