Anthony dies before mum can be found

Anthony Kellett from Ingol, who has died aged 21
Anthony Kellett from Ingol, who has died aged 21
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A “CHEEKY” 21-year-old has died suddenly with a last-minute appeal for his long-lost mum unanswered.

Anthony Kellett, from New Rough Hey, Ingol, died on Saturday - a week after being falling ill with pneumonia.

Anthony Kellett as a youngster when the Evening Post broke the story of his search for a donor in 2005.

Anthony Kellett as a youngster when the Evening Post broke the story of his search for a donor in 2005.

The former Preston’s College student had battled health problems all his life. Knowing his health was declining rapidly after picking up an infection, his dad Robert issued an appeal for his son’s mum - last known as Nicola Smith - to come to see him.

But the appeal went unanswered and Anthony died without the reunion.

According to his dad, Anthony often called out for his mum, who had not seen him since the age of three. But the call went on answered, and now the family want her to know the news of his death.

Dad Robert, 46, said: “It’s a shock. I thought he’d picked up a bug or something. But it was pneumonia and the antibiotics didn’t kick in.

I knew he was getting worse, but didn’t think he was going to die. But at least I was there.

“I knew he was getting worse, but didn’t think he was going to die. But at least I was there.”

From the age of six, Anthony spent three and a half years at Pendlebury Children’s Hospital being treated for leukaemia. At one point he slipped into a coma and had to re-learn how to walk and talk, his body rejected a bone marrow transplant, and aged eight had to be resuscitated after his heart stopped. His illness caused his spine to curve and affect his heart, and doctors warned that unless he underwent a risky operation, he would not live beyond 21.

Robert, who was a carer for his son, said: “It plays on my mind now, what they said, but it was a 50/50 operation and Anthony didn’t want to do it. I had to respect his wishes. He couldn’t go through it all again, having operation after operation, he’d had enough of it.”

When he was aged around 10, Anthony was well enough to return home to Ingol, and resumed life as normally as he could, though wheelchair-bound and needing additional nutrition through a feeding line. He attended Pool House Community Primary School, Sir Tom Finney High School, and then Preston’s College, where he studied sports and cookery.

Robert said: “When he got home and all of his friends came round, he came to life.

“His family were from this estate, Tanterton and Ingol. He could go anywhere around here and get away with anything, apart from with me.

“He was definitely a charmer, he always had loads of girls kissing and hugging him whenever they saw him. He was also a cheeky little lad. If he didn’t like you, he’d tell you.

“Once he baked some cakes for us and deliberately put salt in instead of sugar, and then just last week in Morecambe on the 2p machines, he deliberately banged his wheelchair into them, causing all the money to fall out.”

Robert said Anthony’s mum left him and his sisters Samantha and Anne Marie when Anthony was three and she has not been in touch since. He said: “I wanted her to know that Anthony was very ill and so we put an appeal out on social media that was picked up by the Evening Post, but it was too late.

“We’ve not heard anything from her. We heard she was now called Nicola Smith and living in Kirkham, but I also heard she might be in Portsmouth. It was my wish that she knew about Anthony, and I think he would probably have liked her to be there.

“In bed at night time he would shout ‘Mum, Mum’, but I had to tell him that I was both his mum and his dad now. And that my partner Helen was there for him.

“But it’s up to her now, the appeal is out there and I think she should know.”

Details of Anthony’s funeral are yet to be announced.