Stars back fundraising bid to send terminally ill teenager on dream trip to New York (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton among well wishers
Sports stars including David Beckham and Barcelona's Lionel Messi are backing an auction to help send a terminally ill Bradford teenager off on a dream trip to New York.
Footballing legend Beckham is donating a signed football, Messi has sent a signed pair of his boots, world famous tennis champion Roger Federer is giving a signed headscarf, there is a cap signed by racing whizz Lewis Hamilton and one by Jenson Button – all among the lots to be auctioned at a fundraiser for Buttershaw Business & Enterprise College pupil Connor Lancaster.
The event will take place at Cue Gardens, near Odsal, on Friday, April 11 at 7.30pm.
Other lots include signed shirts from football stars including Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, a boxing glove from David Haye, a signed Andy Murray dvd and a signed Pele canvas worth £5,000.
Away from sporting memorabilia, there's a box set of Friends signed by Jennifer Aniston, Hayley Cropper's lilac blouse courtesy of Coronation Street's wardrobe department and a Birds Of A Feather signed cast photo.
Bids will be taken on the night but can also be e-mailed in advance to auction organiser Sarah Steel at email@example.com before midnight on Monday, April 7.
To see a full list of auction items go to www.buttershaw.net - there are 150 tickets on sale for the auction night costing £10 each, they can also be booked in advance by e-mailing maths teacher Mrs Steel.
As well as the auction on April 11, there will be live entertainment from local band Live Lounge and a curry, said Mrs Smith, who already raised £1,300 with another auction in school which started off with a signed Joey from Essex calendar.
"I need to sell 150 tickets for the auction to go ahead at Cue Gardens although people can put their silent bids in by e-mail. It would be great to get the support of people on the night as well. I can't believe how it's taken off - people have been so generous in what they have given. They have all been touched by Connor's story," said Mrs Steel.
When 15-year-old Connor from Wibsey was told his rare cancer was terminal, his teachers and friends asked him about his dreams and his number one wish was to go to New York.
He drew up a list of other wishes and across the community, fundraisers have been working hard to make as many of them as possible come true.
The deposit is down for his New York trip this May but because of his health, travel insurance alone is going to cost about £2,000 for the four-day trip and then there is spending money.
Mrs Steel said: "Connor has battled the odds since his birth. At just the age of two weeks old he contracted meningitis and was left with a visual impairment as well as a mobility issue which meant that he had to go through numerous operations and wear splints.
"His parents separated and eventually his mum remarried. Connor developed a fantastic relationship with his new step dad and was adopted by him but he died suddenly leaving Connor and his mum alone again.
"When he was 13 he was diagnosed with Cancer which he battled and survived but it returned last year and he was told it was terminal."
Ticked off on his dream-list so far was joining in an archaeological dig, a trip to Jersey for him, his mum and nan; a visit to The Deep in Hull with his teachers and friends, a visit to Duxford Air Show and having fun at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
He has got a ticket lined up for this year's Bingley Live music festival, wants to go sky divingfor his 16th birthday and would love to swim with dolphins.
One dream that is proving almost impossibly to arrange said Mrs Smith, is getting him to meet his rock heros Linkin Park.
"That dream is proving the most difficult of all but we're so inspired by Connor we won't give up trying."