THE FAMILY of a boy with cerebral palsy united for a farewell fundraiser at the pub which helped him learn to walk.
Parents Angie Mahon and Terry Smith put on a fun day at The Curlew in Havant yesterday, ahead of its closure on Saturday, April 7.
The Petersfield Road drinking hole has hosted a catalogue of drives for the pair’s son, Oakley, who was born alongside his twin brother after Angie dramatically trudged through a snowstorm in 2010.
Unable to even sit up at birth, Oakley underwent a £35,000 operation in the USA in 2013 – made possible by cash-raising efforts at The Curlew.
With days before the site closes to make way for a three-storey apartment building, Oakley’s family returned there – bidding farewell to the place where their mammoth fundraising efforts began five years ago.
Ms Mahon, who began working at the pub three years ago, said: ‘We have had so many events for Oakley’s Walking Fund at The Curlew and everybody has treated him like family.
‘The landladies have been fantastic and it is really sad to see this community pub on its way out.
‘We cannot thank everybody here enough for all the help we’ve had throughout the years.
‘Oakley would not be where he is right now if it were not for places like The Curlew.’
From 1pm, scores of Oakley’s friends and family packed into the pub and its garden to enjoy a disco and a host of Easter-themed activities.
Among the crowds were Kerry and Mary Sinclair, The Curlew’s landladies.
Speaking about the progress they have seen Oakley make as part of his fundraising efforts, they said: ‘These events have got bigger and better every year and it’s a joy to be part of Oakley’s family – he’s a cracking young lad.
‘It’s been amazing to see just how far he has come and it’s been a real pleasure to be part of that.’
But as they embark on their next pub venture, The Fountain in Rowlands Castle, the pair said Oakley’s Walking Fund will be travelling with them.
‘It’s sad to see The Curlew go but we’re excited for this next chapter of our lives,’ they said.
‘With Oakley’s parents now needing to pay for his physio, we’ll be his official sponsors over at the new pub.’