Inspirational start to new year for LoveOliver

Aberdour Golf Club ladies make donation to LoveOliver  with Jennifer Gill, third left, and son Micah
Aberdour Golf Club ladies make donation to LoveOliver with Jennifer Gill, third left, and son Micah

Leaders of a top local children’s charity are looking ahead with relish to the new year after ending 2015 on a high.

Or a ‘high five’, to be more accurate, as that was one of the phrases which became most associated last year with the LoveOliver campaign.

The appeal, in memory of courageous Leven tot Oliver Gill, also reached a financial milestone as the curtain fell on 2015 – it broke through the £300,000 barrier, which was a remarkable accomplishment.

Oliver was born in July 2010 but his life was tragically claimed on Christmas Day that year by a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.

The brave baby had inspired and enlightened so many people during his five-month battle for life that parents Andy (31) and Jennifer (30) launched the appeal in his name, with the help of family and friends, to fund research into various types of childhood cancer and offer practical help to other families affected by it.

Jennifer, a religious studies teacher at Waid Academy, and Andy, who teaches maths at Glenwood High School in Glenrothes, have two other sons – Micah, three, and one-year-old Rory, who are becoming familiar campaign figures too as they gradually learn more about their inspirational big brother.

Last summer would have marked Oliver’s fifth birthday, so Andy and Jennifer necouraged fund-raisers to ‘high five’ the appeal by organising activities themed around the number five.

This easily surpassed its target figure, while various other ventures linked with LoveOliver have helped it gather around £306,000 so far for research and practical support since 2011.

“We feel very well supported by the local community,” said Jennifer, adding that whenever new people got in touch with support, it gave the organising team fresh energy, added to all the existing backing.

LoveOliver trustees will soon be discussing other potential projects – the charity has funded a four-year PhD course by Cumbrian student Matthew Selby at Newcastle University into cancer-linked childhood conditions, and may be backing another PhD candidate in their studies. LoveOliver could also be involved with the replacement building for Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh in 2017. A little sooner, there is a March 11 quiz night at Waid Academy and plus a children’s Easter disco on March 26 in Glenrothes. Other recent fundraising has involved Blacketyside farm shop near Leven, Auchtertool Primary School, and Newcraigs Church, Rejects department store,Toys r Us, Rollo Solicitors and the TSB, all Kirkcaldy.