Family gives thanks to Portsmouth as trust reaches £1m target

THANKS a million! You have made this city proud.

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 6:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 9:16 am
Tom Prince's family celebrate after reaching Blue Day's £1m target Picture: Sarah Standing (160930-5664)

That is the heartfelt message from the family of Tom Prince as they celebrate reaching the £1m target of the trust set up in his memory.

With the help of 10 Blue Days and the thousands of pounds donated by people in the Portsmouth area, the Tom Prince Cancer Trust has now raised £1,003,000 for research into bone cancer.

Tom’s parents Adele and Clinton and his sister Emma were all amazed to have reached the landmark figure after last month’s event.

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Tom Prince with Bubba, the bull terrier bought for him by Harry Redknapp

Adele, from Haslemere Road, in Southsea, said: ‘When we first realised, it was quite emotional.

‘The money from this year’s Blue Day just kept coming in and it was all a bit surreal.

‘We hoped that Blue Day would get us over the £1m and it did.

‘We just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in Blue Day or donated to the trust.

Tom Prince with Bubba, the bull terrier bought for him by Harry Redknapp

‘We want to say a million thank yous.’

Clinton added: ‘It is such a phenomenal amount of money to reach and it was emotional as a family to realise we had got there.

‘It feels amazing and we are so grateful to everyone.

‘We could not have done it without the support and the help from the city.’

Tom’s sister Emma said the figure was an unbelievable sum when they first started. But she said they kept going and never doubted they would reach the target.

‘When dad said about the £1m target and started telling everyone, it seemed so surreal,’ she said.

‘It did get quite difficult around the halfway mark but then it was almost like the home stretch.

‘It has been very therapeutic and has brought us together as a family.’

She added: ‘Simply saying thank you to the people of Portsmouth is not enough.

‘Portsmouth is a brilliant city. It is the ideal community for something like this.

‘It is small enough that you have a community feel to the city but it is big enough that when you organise an event like Blue Day, you can notice when people take part.

‘We have done all of this for personal reasons but it’s lovely that complete strangers hear about the trust and want to do their part.’

The Tom Prince Cancer Trust was set up in 2004 in memory of Tom who died on the eve of his 16th birthday from osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

His family started the charity in the hope of reaching £1m, to be donated for research into the disease.

To help boost funding, the family started Blue Day in 2008 in conjunction with The News when Pompey reached the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium.

Tom was a big Pompey fan and schools, businesses and community groups were encouraged to dress in blue.

When the club reached the final on May 17 against Cardiff City, a second Blue Day was held.

Since then, the event has been organised on the Friday before Pompey’s final home game of the season.

In the past eight years, nearly 500 schools and businesses have worn blue, sold blue cakes and taken part in other blue-themed activities.

Some have taken part every year while others have made one huge effort to raise as much cash as possible.

This year was the 10th Blue Day and it raised £13,154.

Clinton said: ‘We wanted Blue Day to push us over the target and this year’s event had one of the best vibes we’ve ever had. It was a great way to reach that £1m.

‘Just seeing the level of support we get every year makes us want to do it again.

‘We will be taking more of a back seat when it comes to fundraising for the trust but we still have events on.

‘There will be people running for us in the Great South Run so the trust will carry on.’

Trust is looking at where to make its £1m donation

THE family of Tom Prince are researching where to give their £1m donation.

Tom’s parents Adele and Clinton along with his sister Emma want to make the right choice on where the money goes.

For the past year, they have been looking at which group or groups to give the cash to.

They want all of the money to go into research for osteosarcoma, which Tom died from when he was 16.

They said it is proving harder than they expected.

Adele, from Southsea, said: ‘It is amazing how little research there actually is into this type of cancer.

‘We want to make the right decision on where we donate the money.

‘It is such a big amount and we owe it to the city and everyone who donated to pick the right place to donate it.

‘We are making enquiries and meeting with researchers at hospitals and universities so we can make the best choice.’

Clinton added: ‘We do not want to give this money away lightly.

‘We want to make sure it is in the right place.

‘We have been looking for the last year or so, ever since we reached £900,000.

‘But it has been harder than we thought. We want this money to make a difference.’

The Tom Prince Cancer Trust has been fundraising since 2004.