'˜Jack would love to know his legacy is helping other families'

Little Jack Johnstone would have been smiling to know his legacy is about to help its first grieving family.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 15th July 2017, 7:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:40 am
Jack Johnstone with his mum Tina.
Jack Johnstone with his mum Tina.

A couple and their daughter will be spending an all expenses paid holiday in Wales next month thanks to a fund set up in memory of the courageous 10-year-old.

The Jack K Johnstone Foundation, launched in February, is paying for the much-needed break so the un-named family can come to terms with their own bereavement.

They too lost a young son around the time Jack passed away last December, following his brave fight against cystic fibrosis.

“They have a daughter and she is finding it really hard,” explained Foundation trustee Stephen Wilson. “She will be starting school soon and they just wanted to take her away to take her mind off losing her brother.

“So we have funded them to go away to Wales for a week and we will be giving them spending money as well. This is just the sort of thing the foundation was set up for.”

The fund is looking at another deserving case and has also sponsored four children through the Be Brave Bears charity, which sends personalised teddies to sick youngsters.

“It’s going very well considering it has only been up and running for less than five months,” said Stephen. “People have been so generous. Jack would have been really happy to know others are being helped.”

The latest fund-raising event this week saw four “volunteers” jump out of an aircraft over Lancashire in a sponsored parachute drop.

Nigal Moore, Kayleigh Birch and Oliver Fox jumped for the Foundation, and Louise Chambers was raising money for an associated charity called Hope4Kiera to help a young girl who has cerebral palsy.

A fifth parachutist will follow suit at the end of the month and the group hopes to have collected around £1,500 between them.

Jack, who lived in Clayton-le-Woods, near Chorley, died just before Christmas, a year after he underwent a double lung transplant.

His suffering inspired the Giving The Gift of Life campaign which was launched by the Post in 2016 to encourage people to sign up as organ donors.

At Jack’s funeral, grandad Malcolm Johnstone said: “He loved to make people happy.” And he said of Jack’s perpetual smile: “It lit up his face, it lit up a room and it lit up all our lives.”

Stephen Wilson, who has signed up to do a parachute jump himself next year to celebrate his 50th birthday, said: “The four who did the drop this week were all volunteers - with a bit of a shove. They did it because raising money for such a good cause means so much to them.

“The foundation is going really well. It’s been a huge achievement since February - and a lot of hard work.

“The aim is to raise money to help families at a difficult time. Jack and his family found it really hard to have a break away because of all his medication and treatment. They certainly couldn’t go abroad on holiday because the insurance was so expensive.

“So it will be so satisfying when the first family go on holiday to Wales next month. It is something Jack would have smiled about because he just loved making people happy.”