Pompey fans unite in emotional tribute following the death of brave Sophie Fairall, 10

FOOTBALL fans staged a touching tribute in honour of a courageous little girl who died following a year-long struggle with cancer.

Thousands of punters at Fratton Park joined in with a 60-second round of applause during tonight’s clash between Portsmouth Football Club and Plymouth Argyle in honour of brave Sophie Fairall.

Pompey was determined to ‘do its bit’ for inspirational Sophie, who died aged 10 surrounded by family at her Stubbington home on Saturday as her heartbroken mother, Charlotte, cuddled her.

The applause took place on the 10th minute to mark every year of Sophie’s life, with the game coming to a standstill as players and fans joined together.

Sophie Fairall, 10, died after a year-long battle with cancer. Now fans at Portsmouth FC have staged a minutes' applause in her honour

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Anna Mitchell, chief commercial officer at Pompey, said Sophie’s death had rocked the club, leaving players, fans and staff alike hearbroken.

She said: ‘Sophie’s dad emailed us a year ago when she was first diagnosed and we have tried to support her as much as possible since then.

‘Jack Watmough and Craig MacGillivray had Zoom calls with Sophie and Craig bought her a cuddly toy penguin. We also gave her signed shirts.

‘We were absolutely devastated to hear of her passing away from this terrible disease.

‘We want to raise as much money as possible for the charity she supported and do our bit to help support the family.’

Sophie was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in September last year – a rare type of cancer that forms in children’s soft tissue like skeletal muscle.

When Sophie’s death was announced on Saturday, hundreds of people donated an incredible £30,000 in the space of hours towards her chosen charity, Alice’s Arc, which supports children with cancer.

The fundraiser has since hit a whopping £57,600 – an increase of more than £15,000 since the weekend.

And cash is still pouring in, with Fareham Town FC pledging to give all its profits from raffle and programme sales during its match this evening to Alice’s Arc.

As previously reported, Sophie endeared the hearts of the nation after speaking out about her ‘bucket list’ following her terminal diagnosis last year.

After being featured in The News, she was invited to appear on ITV’s This Morning in July.

Viewers were brought to tears as her family described the heartbreaking moment they opted not to pursue further treatment, following the removal of a 12-inch tumour earlier in the year.

Her time on This Morning led to her cooking with celebrity chief Gordon Ramsay and receiving messages of support from Ant and Dec and England football heroes Mason Mount and Jack Grealish.

To donate to Sophie’s fundraising campaign go to: justgiving.com/fundraising/charlotte-fairall5

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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