Research project to honour brave and caring teenager

Mon, 5 Nov 2018
Tom (right) with his sister, Holly.

Friends and family of a brave and caring Monmouth student are aiming to raise £100,000 in his memory to fund a research project close to their heart.

Tom was a quiet and considerate pupil at Monmouth School for Boys and his unexpected death in June, aged just 13 years old, has been felt by his family, friends and the local community.

Tom was a keen musician, a swimmer for both his school and Monnow Swimming Club and had also been learning to row on the River Wye.

A group of rowers from the school tackled a Loch Ness challenge in September to raise money for a new boat in Tom’s honour.

After consultation with Tom’s family, Cancer Research Wales is now planning to launch a dedicated fund in the teenager’s name to pay for a research project into Leukaemia.

A three-year PhD studentship requires around £100,000 in funding and Tom’s family are friends are organising events to make this research project a reality.

“As a family, we are very keen to establish a PhD student post in the near future,” said Tom’s mum, Debbie.

“We think this is an incredibly positive project, which honours Tom’s memory and helps to move forward the ultimate goal of a Wales without Cancer.

“Instead of the money we have raised so far merging into Cancer Research Wales’ general funds, it will be ring fenced and used solely for this research project.

“Tom’s fundraising page stands at just over £21,000 and we will continue our efforts with further fundraising.”

Less than three months before he died, before he knew he had leukaemia, Tom raised several hundred pounds for Cancer Research Wales.

Tom took part in a night hike up Pen y Fan, in which he was the youngest participant.

Tom’s 10-year-old sister, Emily, organised an impressive and eye-catching Halloween hat competition last Friday (2nd November) at Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, which raised more than £100.

And Tom’s 12-year-old sister Holly, a pupil at Monmouth School for Girls, is organising a swimathon, called Swim for Tom, on Sunday 6th January 2019.

The swimathon will take place in the pool at Monmouth School for Girls and aims to cover a distance of 430km – equivalent to the length of the River Wye and back – and a total of 17,200 lengths.

Holly has been working on the swimathon with Deputy Head Girl, Katie, and the school’s Director of Sport, Miss Lou Scott.

Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools and Cancer Research Wales are supporting the swimathon and hope people from across the community will get involved to support a wonderful cause.

Tom’s dad, Tim, said: “We will need people to take part, volunteers to count the lengths that are swum. and help with the organisation of the day.

“Everyone – either as an individual or as a team – is welcome to take part in what will be a special and memorable day.”

For more information about the Swim for Tom event, please e-mail: swimfortom@gmail.com and online donations can be made by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swimfortom

Tom’s sister, Emily, organised a hat competition.