Navy Rugby Supports Cancer Cause

RUGBY fan, Sam John, was an enthusiastic player until cancer struck. Now the 12-year-old has turned his energy to supporting his team at Gosport and Fareham RFC. Sam and Simon Burns, a former captain at the club and now a Royal Navy Rugby Union head coach of the under-23s, have got together to prove that old adage that ‘there’s something for everyone’ as they helped promote an appeal to restock shelves in Cancer Research UK shops. The ‘Wrong For You, Right For Us’ appeal urges people to donate unwanted goods to support the charity’s shops, which raise in the region of £16 million to pay for research every year. Simon joined 12-year-old Sam to hand over a pair of rugby boots his dad found at the back of his wardrobe. Such items – as well as quality clothing, accessories and household goods – are being urgently sought by Cancer Research UK shops across the region to help fund the charity’s life-saving research. Sam, from Widley Court, Fareham, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2006, when he was nine. His gruelling treatment finished in March and Sam’s bravery has been an inspiration to others - including his grandfather who is also fighting cancer. Kimberly Boyton, a friend at Neville Lovett Community School, in Fareham, who recently nominated Sam for a Cancer Research UK bravery award, said: “He always comes into school with a huge smile on his face. “He sings a lot to show how happy he is. Sam always makes us laugh and in our tutor group at school he makes jokes on people for fun. He talks about his illness openly and answers questions if we don’t understand. “Whenever we see Sam, we always see a special, brave boy who lives life to the full. He is amazing.” Sam, who has a younger brother, Matthew, recently went on holiday to Wales to celebrate completing his treatment. His mum, Victoria, said: “Sam loves watching rugby even although he is no longer able to play. His friends are right. He is amazing and we are very proud of him.” Simon, who has 17 caps playing for the RNRU against the Army and RAF - including at Twickenham - and several combined services sides against the Barbarians, also gave Sam a rugby shirt donated by the RNRU Community Rugby Development officer, Chief Petty Officer Dusty Miller. Simon said: “I have heard how brave Sam has been and we just wanted to give him a Navy shirt to let him know we are all behind him.” Seven out of 10 children with cancer are now successfully treated and with each bag of shop donations worth as much as £30 to Cancer Research UK, many more lives could be saved with every wardrobe that’s cleared out. As more and more credit crunched Brits snap up charity shop bargains, store managers are struggling to stock their shelves. Zerina Bryant manager of the Cancer Research UK shop in Havant, said: “Our customers are as loyal as ever but it is getting more and more difficult to keep the shelves and the rails stocked. “The demand is there so we need to replenish our stock all the time. We’re asking people to have a good sort out, pick out the good quality items they no longer use and bring them in to us. If something’s not quite right for you, you can guarantee that it’ll be perfect for someone else.” Cancer Research UK’s ‘Wrong for you/Right for us’ campaign is being backed by TV personality Tara Palmer Tomkinson and Olympic swimmer Mark Foster. The celebrities currently appear on posters in Cancer Research UK shops all over the country. Tara said: “I’ve got lots of things in my wardrobe that no longer suit me but may suit others. Supporting Cancer Research UK’s ‘Wrong For You, Right For Us’ campaign is an easy way for me to do my bit and help beat cancer.” Swimmer and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ hunk Mark Foster has also pledged to empty his wardrobe of unused clothes. To find out more about shopping with Cancer Research UK visit