Brave toddler inspires fundraising bid

KIND-hearted snooker players at an Essex club took part in a 12-hour fundraising game inspired by a toddler who has undergone two heart operations.

Annie Davidson

KIND-hearted snooker players at an Essex club took part in a 12-hour fundraising game inspired by a toddler who has undergone two heart operations.

Tom Birks was the guest of honour at the event on Saturday at Earls Colne Constitutional Club which saw 12 people taking part in the sponsored game raising about �500.

The two-year-old was born with a hole in his heart and has been treated at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and at the children's ward at Colchester General Hospital.


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The Birks family and their friends have already raised �2,000 for the Royal Brompton, where Tom had heart surgery aged one and 18-months-old.

Now they have turned their fundraising efforts towards the children's ward at Colchester where Tom was treated for chest infections, sometimes for up to a week at a time.

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Tom's mother, Tracy Birks, said: “This year, we've decided to support our local children's ward and we're very grateful to those local people who suggested the snooker marathon.

“In addition, we'll be holding another party in our garden the day before Tom's third birthday, and funds are being generated in other ways too.

“For example, three chaps from the constitutional club are going to have their heads shaved and a 16-year-old cousin of mine raised �400 by doing a sponsored swim in the sea at Shoeburyness.”

Once all the events have taken place the money will be presented to the children's ward and Mr and Mrs Birks, of Church Hill, Earls Colne, will be able to choose from a wish-list of needed equipment.

Mr Birks said the snooker marathon on Saturday had been a great success, and added: “There was a really good spirit as they were playing and there was some other kids there playing games with Tom.

“It was a really good day.”

Graham Appleton, children's services fundraising co-ordinator, said: “We are glad that Tom is doing well and would like to thank David, Tracy, family and friends for the time and effort to support our fundraising.

“We will offer them a choice of equipment to buy with the money raised from our medical and non-medical 'wish lists'.

“Our supporters like to choose the items and then we invite them to the hospital to see the difference they have made.”

Tom, who will be three on May 17, attends Colchester General Hospital once a year for a check-up, which is carried out by staff from the Royal Brompton Hospital.

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