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Young people with learning difficulties reach out to help young amputee reach sporting dream


Generous young people with learning disabilities have taken it upon themselves to help a teenage amputee achieve his sporting dream.

Five Young Ambassadors from Smile For Life Children’s Charity decided to raise money for Oliver Liddle after meeting him at the Northern Children of Courage Awards in May.

Oliver, 14, had to have most of right leg amputated after developing bone cancer, but still dreams of competing for his country.

Money raised by the Young Ambassadors – Cole Forster, Amber Studholme, Ross Keeley, Tracey Beaty and Lewis Codling – will go towards a fund dedicated to helping Oliver get active again, set up by Rockliff Rugby Club.

Former Rockliff youth player Oliver, from Whitley Bay, said: “I think what they have done is amazing, really. I don’t know what to say.

“I met them at the awards, then I heard from them a while later and they told me they wanted to raise money to help me.

“I was blown away by it. I just can’t believe people can be so thoughtful and generous. It is very humbling.”

Oliver was diagnosed with Osteo-Sarcoma when aged just 13, and in September 2018 had to undergo an above-knee amputation.

Until his diagnosis Oliver had loved competing in rugby and athletics, but now hopes his future may lie in Paralympic sports.

And the chance meeting with the Young Ambassadors at May’s awards, where they won Team of the Year, will hopefully help him achieve that after they raised £200 with a raffle.

Oliver added: “The aim is to get where I was in terms of getting back running, I want to be active like how I was before my operation.

“The money could help me get a more high-tech limb or just to help me in the future with adaptions or whatever has to be done.

“Rugby has always been my passion and I would love to get back into that, or athletics where I’d love to compete in the Paralympics. To be honest my main aim is just to be active again.”

Smile For Life Chief Executive Paula Gascoigne said: “The team heard Oliver’s story and were very moved by it; they wanted to do something to help him in his rehabilitation.

“They are always giving back to those who need support and this is just another example of their complete selflessness.

“They are truly great role models and we couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Ross, 22, said: “We wanted to have a raffle to help Oliver and help support his dream. We are glad we could help.”

The charity aims to make a difference to the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people across the North East.

It runs Café Beam on Gosforth High Street, where it offers placements to hundreds of young people a year, as well as running residential trips, challenge days, youth clubs and other activities.

For more information check out, call 0191 284 4166 or check out @SmileForLifeNE on social media.