It’s been five years since the first Blue Day was held in the spring of 2008.
Organised to celebrate Pompey’s success in the FA Cup, it has now spiralled and has become an annual celebration.
People across the city and beyond turn blue for a day all in aid of raising as much money as they can for local charity the Tom Prince Cancer Trust.
Over the past six Blue Days, a total of £194,000 has been raised as the momentum has continued to build.
The family are aiming to raise £1m.
And every year they are edging closer and closer to their target.
So far, around £770,000 has been raised by the trust towards research into osteosarcoma – the bone cancer to which they tragically lost Tom to back in 2004, just a day before his 16th birthday.
Tom’s mum Adele Prince says she is overwhelmed by all the support that people across the area have shown over the years by taking part in Blue Day.
‘We’re pleased that it’s become an annual event and people still want to participate,’ she says.
‘It makes a big difference to the overall fundraising throughout the year.
‘It’s the biggest event we have and it’s very important to us.
‘It means a lot to us for people to still support it.
‘As long as it continues it helps us to get closer to that target.
‘At the beginning it was a very long way off.
‘We never in our wildest dreams thought it would be this big. It surprised everyone.
‘To say we were overwhelmed is an understatement.
‘We can’t put it into words, it’s unbelievable.’
Adele says she thinks her son would be thrilled to see what has been achieved over the years.
‘He would have been proud,’ she says.
‘If Tom had been well, I think as a family we would have fundraised, but not to this extent.
‘Over the years it’s taken over our lives.
‘When you hear that it’s happened to another boy or girl, you know what that family has gone through and you know what it’s like because we went through it ourselves.
‘He would be proud that we are doing something. We just want to try and improve things.
‘We weren’t aware of the disease before – we just didn’t know.
‘Now we have been through it, it’s hard not to do anything.
‘You just feel like fighting back.’
Since the first Blue Day was held on April 4 2008, the day before Pompey’s FA Cup semi-final clash, people have continued to support the event.
Even when the team have been struggling on and off the pitch and the club has tumbled down the football leagues, people have still come out to show their support for the charity every year.
People turn up at work dressed in their Pompey shirts, schoolchildren take part in various activities and enjoy non-uniform days.
People paint their faces blue and wear blue wigs.
Blue cakes and even blue sausages are consumed on Blue Day every year.
Tom’s dad Clinton says that he is thrilled of what the people of Portsmouth have achieved.
‘The people of Portsmouth are very proud of Blue Day,’ he says.
‘People identify with the trust being in the community of Portsmouth.
‘It’s connected well with people.
‘We had companies phoning us up this year asking when Blue Day was being launched.
‘We go to Fratton Park and we are standing outside shaking our buckets and asking people for donations and some of the people we have known for years.
‘It’s like living your life story.
‘A lot of them knew Tom and say what a lovely lad he was.
‘It’s a family charity that can be trusted.
‘The people of Portsmouth want something to be proud of.’
Clinton says it’s overwhelming when considering that almost £200,000 has been raised through Blue Day alone.
‘It’s a tremendous sense of pride and gratitude for everybody involved with us,’ he says.
‘The people of the city are proud of being involved in something that is the bedrock of the community.
‘The gratitude that we owe to people who have supported us is immeasurable.
‘It’s a joy to be connected with it.
‘It’s hard work sometimes but there is an immense sense of pride.’
If you’ve never lost a child, it’s impossible to imagine what a family must go through.
Last year, 10-year-old Chloe Challoner lost her battle with osteosarcoma, just like Tom.
Clinton says hearing that others have suffered from the disease just spurs the family on to meet their fundraising target.
‘It breaks your heart,’ he says.
‘They all say it’s a rare cancer but it’s not rare by a long shot.
‘Chloe’s parents went through exactly what we went through.
‘You world is ripped apart.
‘It’s a cruel world. When we get to £1m, I’d like to go to the government and tell them this is what the proud people of Portsmouth have raised.
‘This is what the people have done.
‘Why can’t the government match it?
‘Research is the key to it all.
‘We’re immensely proud of the family for sticking with us and achieving what we have done.
‘And all the people of Portsmouth for their keen donations and support.
‘It’s something to celebrate.’
And for anyone who hasn’t been part of Blue Day before, Clinton is hoping he can help encourage a whole new wave of supporters.
‘Get involved and do what you can,’ he says.
‘Whatever you do raise will be a bonus.
‘It is always a tremendous boost for us.
‘It’s a good vibe when you get involved in Blue Day and everybody really does enjoy it.’
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Across the area, schools, businesses and individuals will once again join forces to raise money for Blue Day which this year will take place on Friday, April 19.
The basic idea is to wear Pompey’s famous blue colours on the day and to make a donation for the privilege of doing so.
Many people and organisations also hold sponsored events to raise cash for the charity.
If you are planning to take part in Blue Day, you need to register your event at the charity’s website by visiting tomprince.co.uk.
The News will automatically be notiﬁed and we will then add you to our big roll of honour.
Alternatively, you can also call reporter Ruth Scammell on (023) 9262 2131 and she will register your event through the website on your behalf.
HISTORY OF A FUNDRAISER
Blue Day was ﬁrst held by The News on April 4, 2008 - the eve of Pompey’s FA Cup semi-ﬁnal against West Bromwich Albion.
Thousands of people in schools, shops, ofﬁces and streets wore Pompey blue and held blue-themed fundraisers, raising £50,000 for the Tom Prince Cancer Trust.
The next day, Pompey won the semi-ﬁnal and The News called for a Blue2Day on May 16 - the day before the FA Cup Final victory against Cardiff City.
Again thousands showed their support and the event became an annual ﬁxture, coinciding with Pompey’s last game of the season.
The ﬁgure raised by the trust now stands at around £750,000 - and £194,000 of that was raised by the six Blue Days.
The trust was founded in 2004 in memory of avid Pompey fan Tom Prince, who died the evening before his 16th birthday from teenage bone cancer osteosarcoma - only 18 months after being diagnosed.
His mum Adele, dad Clinton and sister Emma set up the trust to fund research into the disease and hope to raise £1m.
HOW TO DONATE
Making a donation to the Tom Prince Cancer Trust is easy.
All you need to do is simply take all your cheques or cash (bagged up) which you have raised from Blue Day to any Lloyds TSB branch.
Tell them the name of your organisation and that the money is for the Tom Prince Cancer Trust.
You can also donate directly via Paypal by visiting the charity’s website at tomprince.co.uk.
GET THE POSTER
If you’re organising an event at a school or workplace, then a poster is a great way of getting people interested.
And of course we hope that readers across the area will put a poster in their window to demonstrate the support for the cause.
To download a copy of our Blue Day 13 poster, go to portsmouth.co.uk