Waterlooville girl braves the heights of the O2 Arena to raise money for hospice

A YOUNG thrill-seeker has scaled the dizzying heights of London’s O2 Arena for a hospice that looked after her uncle.

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 7:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th August 2019, 8:54 pm
Tiana Rato, right, with her father Vernon at the top of the O2 Arena in London. Picture: Naomi House and Jacksplace

Tiana Rato, 9 from Waterlooville, climbed the arena in support of Naomi House and Jacksplace, based in Winchester.

The hospice took care of her uncle Joseph, who died age 20 in October 2015.

With a close bond to her uncle, and a passion for adventure, Tiana has raised more than £200 from her fundraiser – which she decided to do for her ninth birthday.

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Tiana said: ‘I chose to support Naomi House and Jacksplace because they help so many people I know.

‘When I got to the top of the O2, it was so high. It was scary but worth it.’

Tiana’s mother, 39-year-old Angelina, says her daughter formed a close bond with Joseph in the short time they knew one another.

‘They spent so much time together,’ she said.

‘He lived over in Cosham so she saw him most weeks.

‘Tiana and Joseph were really close even though she was still very young at the time.’

Joseph, who suffered with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, would go to the hospice for a couple of days at a time, doing things there that he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.

Angelina said: ‘It gave him the chance to go to the cinema and things like that.

‘They would do family stuff that we would go to as well, like arts and crafts sessions.

‘Naomi House and Jacksplace is a genuinely wonderful charity.’

Tiana, who scaled the O2 Arena with her dad, 42-year-old Vernon, has a keen interest in adrenaline rushes.

‘Everywhere we go, she wants to do the rollercoasters and so on,’ her mum said.

‘She was a bit nervous at the start but she just got on with it – which is really quite remarkable.

‘She’s become so much more confident over the past couple of years.

‘She’s only nine years old and already doing so many amazing things; I’m so proud of her and everything she has achieved.’

Tiana has raised a total of £205 at the time of publication, but would love to give Naomi House and Jacksplace as much money as possible to say thank you for looking after her uncle.

Anyone who wants to donate can do so by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising/Angelina-Rato.