Battling Bradley Lowery got a helping hand with opening some of the tens of thousands of Christmas cards he has been sent by well-wishers this evening.
Dozens of local residents descended on Blackhall Community Centre to open cards that have been sent from around the world to the five-year-old, whose fight against neuroblastoma has touched so many people.
“We started at five o’clock and we are probably looking at 70 or 80 people,” said organiser Lynn Murphy.
“And we expect to have more people coming down through the evening. We will be here as long as it takes.”
The Royal Mail card tally stands at almost a quarter of a million, but Lynn says that is an under-estimate.
“The official Royal Mail tally is 226,000, but we have a lot more than that because we are getting what look like parcels through but which but then turn out to be full of cards. We’re getting a lot of collections through from schools as well.
The whole community here has always pulled together but it is not just our community any more - it is the whole of the UK and beyond. It is overwhelming that they are all doing this for my little boy.Gemma Lowery
“We are completely overwhelmed. We were expecting a few cards from local people in the area that support Bradley, but they are coming from all over the world. We have even had cards from Iraq - you would think people there had other things to worry about.”
Bradley’s mum Gemma has been astonished by the response to the Christmas card appeal - but not by this evening’s turn-out.
“It is amazing,” she said.
“I had no idea it would happen like this, but we know the community in Blackhall would support us. They are absolutely fantastic and they are always there when we need them.
“The whole community here has always pulled together but it is not just our community any more - it is the whole of the UK and beyond. It is overwhelming that they are all doing this for my little boy.”
Bradley will commence a five-day course of chemotherapy on Christmas Eve before he starts pioneering new treatment in January - ‘but he gets New Year off,” said Gemma.