Sheffield teen’s Olympic torch is charity boost

Proud: Torchbearer Sam Hall.
Proud: Torchbearer Sam Hall.
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A TEENAGER from Sheffield who lost his sister to cancer has been using his role in the Olympic torch relay to help his parents raise money for families affected by the disease.

Judo ace Sam Hall, aged 16, was picked to carry the flame for a stretch of its journey through Ripon in June.

He is now letting dad Steve, 51, and mum Joanne, 46, put the golden torch to good use by raising funds for their charity Amy’s Retreat, which they set up after the death of their daughter in 2000.

The family, of Keppel Road, Shiregreen, have generated thousands of pounds by visiting schools, festivals, markets and other events, where people pay to pose with the torch.

They made more than £2,250 from their stall at last month’s Nether Edge Farmers’ Market.

The money will be used by Amy’s Retreat to fund holidays at Centre Parcs for the families of children suffering from cancer.

Joanne and Steve founded the charity in 2001 a year after their daughter Amy, five, lost her three-year battle with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of the disease that attacks soft body tissue.

Steve, a joiner for the University of Sheffield’s estates department, said: “She was full of life. She was really outgoing and smiling all the time.”

Sam is proud his sporting achievements have contributed to the cause that bears his sister’s name.

“It’s really great to know that I’m helping the charity in some way,” he said.

“It is obviously very close to my heart. There is nothing I’d rather contribute to.”

Steve and Joanne, who have two daughters Jess, 15, and Fay, 13, came up with the idea for the charity after CLIC Sargent paid for the family to spend some of Amy’s last days at a coastal retreat in Prestwick, Ayrshire.

Steve said: “When a child gets cancer it is not only the children who go through it. There are so many families who split up through the strain of it all, even when their child pulls through.

“That’s why we want to do this, to give families some respite and the chance to spend some time together and be looked after.”

Amy’s Retreat has funded holidays for more than 200 Sheffield families so far.