NEXT month, in a park far, far away, a brave Jedi-in-training will be stepping out in memory of two warriors who have already fallen.
Eight-year-old Harrison Newell will be donning Jedi garb and a lightsabre and heading to London to do a sponsored walk in memory of his best friend and baby brother who both died of cancer.
Harrison, from Elm, is asking for just 50p sponsorship and he has even sent requests to the Prime Minister and the Queen.
He smashed his £100 target in the first two hours and to date, has raised more than £1,000, with donations and messages of support coming in from across the globe.
Harrison has been deeply affected by the deaths of brother Max Corp, who died aged 17 months old in June 2009, and best friend Ashley Hyde, who was seven years old when he died in September.
Harrison said: “I get really annoyed because three people in my family have died and it’s all been from cancer. I want to find a cure for it.”
Mum Linza Corp, who runs charity Families Against Neuroblastoma, said the day before Ashley died, he had been moved into a hospice and Harrison had been ready to do whatever he could to help his friend.
“He had it in his mind he was going to raise the money to save him. He knew that where there was life, there was hope. He was going to get Ashley out of that hospice. But the next morning I had to tell him Ashley had died during the night,” Linza recalled.
The Elm Primary School pupil decided he wanted to raise some money for Ashley and Max’s memorial funds and will be walking around Queen Square, next to Great Ormond Street Hospital, on Wednesday, May 4 – the date chosen for its similarity to the iconic Jedi line: “May the force be with you.”
He will be doing 50 laps of the small park that is used by many GOSH families, to symbolise the 50 miles between the two hospitals where he visited Ashley and Max.
Ashley, who lived in Milton Keynes, was a passionate Star Wars fan and was actually made a Jedi when he got to go to Universal Studios in Florida on a Wish.
Linza said: “Ashley believed that if he was made a Jedi, it would make him strong enough to beat his cancer because the Force would help him.”
Although Harrison cannot fit into Ashley’s Obi Wan Kenobi costume, he will be getting one of his own so he can dress as his friend’s favourite character.
He will be raising money for the Institute of Cancer Research to fund research into neuroblastoma, the aggressive childhood cancer that took the lives of Ashley and Max.
It is his dream to be a scientific researcher and ICR have said they will show Harrison around the lab and he can choose the piece of equipment his money will buy.
• To donate to Harrison’s fundraiser, go to www.bmycharity.com and type in his name. For more information about the work FAN does, go to www.familiesagainstneuroblastoma.org