Grandfather of tragic 15-month-old Freddie Coles plans fundraiser for The Sick Children’s Trust

Steve Ford, grandfather of Freddie Coles, is planning a 24-hour darts marathon to raise cash for The Sick Children's Trust. He is pictured with landlord of The Lord Burghley pub Tom Griffiths

Steve Ford, grandfather of Freddie Coles, is planning a 24-hour darts marathon to raise cash for The Sick Children's Trust. He is pictured with landlord of The Lord Burghley pub Tom Griffiths

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The grandfather of a 15-month-old boy who tragically died last month is planning a 24-hour darts marathon to raise funds for a charity which helped his family.

As previously reported in the Mercury, Freddie Coles passed away on January 27 following eight weeks in the paediatric intensive care unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Steve Ford with grandson Freddie Coles

Steve Ford with grandson Freddie Coles

Freddie, who had a serious lung condition which meant he required a constant supply of oxygen, developed a respiratory infection in early December last year and quickly deteriorated.

It was the second tragedy to strike his parents – Aimee Holwell, 24, and Simon Coles, 29 – as Freddie’s twin, Rocco, died hours after birth in September 2015.

During Freddie’s time at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, his family were able to live at Acorn House, a home-from-home for families with seriously-ill children in hospital.

Aimee’s stepdad Steve Ford, 48, from Ketton, saw first hand the difference being able to stay close to Freddie made to Aimee and Simon.

He wanted to raise some money for The Sick Children’s Trust, which funds Acorn House and other similar facilities across the country.

Steve said: “Life can be so cruel – to lose Rocco and then Freddie too was awful.

“Aimee and Simon were very grateful to be able to stay in Cambridge, at Acorn House, while Freddie was there.

“Without it they would have missed out on precious hours with their son, while driving backwards and forwards to the hospital.

“It was like a five-star hotel, with lovely rooms and a massive kitchen. Everyone can come and go as they please.

“There are a lot of other families going through very difficult times there. The work which The Sick Children’s Trust does to help is absolutely superb and the charity relies on donations to do it.

“I was extremely keen to help raise some money.”

Steve plays darts every Monday night at The Lord Burghley pub, in Broad Street, Stamford, as part of a group of around 30. Thanks to the co-operation of landlord Tom Griffiths, he is now planning a 24-hour darts marathon at the pub, beginning at 10am on Saturday, March 25.

All proceeds raised through sponsorship, a raffle and a cake stall will go to The Sick Children’s Trust and Steve hopes to raise at least £1,000.

Anyone who would like to volunteer as a player should contact Steve on 07708 777245. To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/24hourdartsmarathon

Freddie’s funeral took place last Thursday at Stamford Methodist Church, in Barn Hill.

Prior to the service family members walked with the funeral cortege from Freddie’s home in New Cross Road to the church. A screen had been set up and photos of Freddie and his family were projected onto it, as a reminder of happier times.

He was buried beside his brother Rocco at Stamford Cemetery.

Steve added: “When we got to Scotgate there were some roadworks going on. The workmen saw we were coming and stopped the traffic so we could pass straight through.

“They took off their helmets and bowed their heads – it was a lovely gesture.

“At the cemetery, we had around 10 seconds of snow, it was amazing.”

Steve was keen to thank funeral director Andrew Woodhouse for his support.

Founded in 1982 by two paediatric specialists, The Sick Children’s Trust provides free accommodation, as well as emotional and practical support, to families with sick children in hospital in the UK. It currently has 10 houses.

Opened in 2000, Acorn House has 15 family bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and play room and garden.