A group of primary school children raising money for a brave six-year-old battling cancer are delighted after receiving celebrity support from stars including football legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Jet Set Angel project began with a tiny target of just £40 to help the family of Tia Taggart who is battling Ewings’s sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer.
The group are raising money by selling little angels made of sparkly beads and tiny baubles for £1 each – and have already brought in a staggering £2,000.
As well as Sir Alex, the angels have also found homes with singer Rick Astley and CBeebies star, Andy Day.
Even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have an angel and then sent a letter of support to the school.
The idea came from Tia’s classmates at St John’s RC Primary School in Padiham, Lancs.
With the help of teacher Carole Carlile, the children started to send angels flying all over the world and they have now been taken on safari, sky dives and competed in triathlons as tiny good luck charms.
Mrs Carlile explained the class wanted to do something to help six-year-old Tia with her courageous battle.
She said: “We knew that we could not wave a magic wand to make Tia better but we wanted to do anything we could to help.
“Tia has been so brave since she was first diagnosed in October. She is very matter of fact about it and always comes into my classroom with a big smile on her face.
“Even when she lost all her hair through the treatment, she said, ‘It’s only hair’.
“In all my teaching career I have never known such a positive and determined little girl.”
Tia’s mum, Gill Taggart, has described the positively the Jet Set Angels have brought to the family as Tia’s battles through the disease.
Mrs Taggart, who is the manager of the Original Factory Shop in Padiham, said: “The angels project has been absolutely amazing and Tia loves hearing the stories of where the angels have been sent to.
“It has been something positive for us as a family after going through such a horrible time.
“The school, staff and parents have been so supportive to us and we cannot thank them enough.
“Tia is such a brave little girl who never complains about what is happening to her and she never questions why it has happened to her. She always has a big smile on her face.”
Mrs Carlile explained that the original idea came to the class as they wanted to help Tia’s family with the travelling costs to Manchester Children’s Hospital, where Tia has undergone 35 rounds of grueling chemotherapy so far.
Now the money is being put towards a well deserved holiday for Tia and her parents, Gill and Lee and nine-year-old sister Tegan after her treatment has finished.
Mrs Carlile said: “We never expected anything like this to happen and it has been absolutely overwhelming for everyone.
“The idea came as a Lent project to help Tia and her family.
“This is something we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams and it appears a little bit of magic is happening.
“The kindness and support that so many people have shown has been amazing and it seems like this is just the start as the demand is growing for the angels all the time.”
Mrs Carlile’s daughter, Charlotte even sent an angel in a bottle off the coast of Bournemouth which was discovered on a beach in France a month later.
Mrs Carlile added: “People are asking for angels so that they can sell them at various events and they have been sent to every continent in the world now apart from Antartica and that is only because there isn’t a flight until November.”
A facebook page set up by Mrs Carlile called Jet Set Angels received 500 likes within days and orders are now flowing quickly for the Jet Set Angels.
Mrs Carlile said: “We are getting as many people as possible on board to help with making the angels to meet the demand at the moment and we will continue selling them over the summer holidays.”
To get a Jet Set Angel, people can visit the Facebook page or via the school website at www.st-john.lancs.sch.uk, with prices at £1 for an angel, £2 for a keyring and £3 for a bookmark.
The angels are also on sale at Emma’s News in Padiham Road, Burnley.