Noah’s illness inspires school to raise £10,000

Noah Hirst as a baby and then with his big brother Samuel.
Noah Hirst as a baby and then with his big brother Samuel.

A SHEFFIELD teacher has raised more than £10,000 to thank a charity that proved invaluable when his son was diagnosed with a rare bowel condition.

Antony Hirst’s colleagues and pupils at Firth Park Community Arts College rallied around to boost funds for the organisation that provides free accommodation to families of sick children whilst they are being treated in hospital.

He had set a goal of £5,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust, which provides the accommodation in Treetop House at Sheffield Children’s Hospital but the cheque Antony and his wife, Kerry, handed over was for £10,223.

It was Antony’s thanks for the support his family received when his second son, Noah, was born in May 2010 and within 12 hours became very ill and was rushed to the Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with Hirschprungs disease.

He spent the first month of his life in the neonatal unit.

Over six months, Antony, who is head of technology, joined Firth Park colleagues and pupils in a number of events and activities to help the charity that allowed them 24-hour access to Noah.

They included a 150-mile cycle ride by Jim Taylor, head of humanities, to every member of the humanities department’s homes, the Sheffield Half Marathon, a 12-hour sponsored tennis match by PE teacher Simon Jeffery, a sponsored walk involving the whole school, a summer fair, climbing on a wall the equivalent height to Everest and a cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End.

Kerry, who teaches English at the school, and elder son Samuel took part in the Sheffield Fun Run.

Antony said: “During the first three weeks of his life, Noah had to stay at the hospital as he was required to go daily for bowel wash-outs during this time my wife and I were lucky enough to secure a room in Treetop House.

“The top-floor accommodation was only a lift ride away from the wards so we knew that we could be at his bedside at any time night or day if needed.

“We were both really grateful to the charity for the support that they gave us during this time and wanted to do some fundraising to reflect this.

“When I told everyone at my school, they all got behind us and wanted to join in with the activities and the results speak for themselves.

“I can’t thank enough all my colleagues, pupils and friends who have helped us to achieve this amazing feat.”

Noah had an operation last July which allowed his bowel to function properly and he is now described as a very healthy and happy little boy.