Charity festival remembers six-year-old George O’Shaughnessy who died of leukaemia

HUNDREDS of people turned out for a charity rock festival in memory of a music-loving six-year-old who died from leukaemia.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 2:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 4:58 pm
George’s parents, Amy and Craig O'Shaughnessy. George's Birthday Rock Out, Wickham Centre, Wickham. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (010220-39)

To mark what would have been their son’s seventh birthday, Amy and Craig O’Shaughnessy drafted in live bands and staged George’s Birthday Rock Out to raise cash to bring music therapy to children in Queen Alexandra and Southampton General hospitals.

George, who died in August 2019, spent most of his childhood in isolation wards in hospital but he was known for his passion for music and his parents set up charity George’s Rockstars.

Mum Amy, 35, said: ‘This year was going to be hard for us but we wanted something positive to come from everything and so we started the charity and organised the rock out for George’s birthday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

George O'Shaugnessy died in August 2019 aged six after battling leukaemia for years - his family have set up George's Rockstars in his memory.

‘Music therapy really helped George in hospital as he was in isolation a lot of the time because he was so ill but the music brought him such happiness and he could just be a kid again.

‘We want to bring that happiness to all children who need it and the therapy really helps them to express how they are feeling which can be tough.’

Gas engineer Craig added: ‘We have loads of people turn up and made probably over £1,500. We want to run more events and raise more money so we can get therapy in our local hospitals.

‘George got it when he was in Bristol but when he was here there wasn’t much for him to do so we want to change that for children in the future.’

Slipdust. George's Birthday Rock Out, Wickham Centre, Wickham. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (010220-37)

The family, including George’s five-year-old sister Isabella, moved to Waltham Chase from Baffins because they wanted George to attend a smaller school Curdridge Primary, where he would be at lesser risk of catching illnesses.

Daniel Ash taught George music at his primary school and came along with colleagues to play George’s favourite songs, Immigrant by Led Zeppelin and the Spiderman theme song, at the party in Wickham Community Centre on Saturday night.

The 29-year-old teacher from Rock Steady Music said: ‘It is an honour to come along and play in George’s memory.

‘We go into schools and teach kids how to play in rock bands and he was the frontman of his band and he absolutely loved singing.’

Amy, an operating department practitioner, added: ‘We are so thrilled so many people have come along. We have quite a following on social media as a few years ago we appealed to find George a bone marrow donor.

‘I think people are quite emotionally invested now and it is amazing that people are now supporting us with our charity.’

To find out more visit George’s Rockstars on Facebook.