Harry's Star charity hits £50,000 in memory of youngster

Craven Herald: Claire Marsden with son Harry, who she described as an “incredibly smiley little boy” Claire Marsden with son Harry, who she described as an “incredibly smiley little boy”

A charity launched by a mother whose ten-month-old son died of a brain tumour, has smashed the £50,000 mark.

Claire Marsden, who lost her son, Harry Marsden-Mellin, in November 2010, has broken her target in just two years.

And her cause, Harry’s Star, has attracted so much support she has pledged to continue her fund raising work to help young people battling the disease.

Among her supporters is Settle-based rock star John Newman, who recovered from a non-cancerous brain tumour in 2012.

He has sent Claire a message in which he urges: “Please everyone become a part of this very touching story. It means a lot to what I have been through.”

Claire, of Long Preston, who also has a daughter, Lily, said: “Now I’ve reached my target it fills me with so much emotion that I can help so many young people.

“There is a huge gap in the brain tumour care system. Everyone gets support while their child is ill, but very little after treatment.

“This can be a very hard time for most families, the impact of the treatment on lives can be devastating.”

Harry’s Star will now work with image consultants, opticians and designers to help improve young people’s self esteem. The money will also fund web-based factsheets for teachers, sports leaders and friends to help them understand the obstacles a child or young person faces.

A side-effect of radiotherapy is hair loss and Claire, 32, a hairdresser in Skipton, wants some of the money to help fund hair treatment, hair pieces and wigs.

“Without my supporters none of this would have been possible,” she said.

In November 2011, Claire launched Harry’s farm in which people were encouraged to buy a soft toy. It started with a lamb, followed by a sheepdog and this year she is selling Harry’s piglets at £7.

The aim is that, every year, to mark Harry’s birthday, an animal joins the “farm”.

Claire’s charity works alongside Brain Tumour Research and Support in Yorkshire.


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