Black belt for brave schoolboy Ray

Ray Holloway aged 10 from Burnley is suffering from Leukaemia and has just been awarded an honorary black belt by the martial arts group at St Peters Centre. Seen here with dad Ray senior, mum Sandra and sister Chelsea aged 6. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 14, 2016.
Ray Holloway aged 10 from Burnley is suffering from Leukaemia and has just been awarded an honorary black belt by the martial arts group at St Peters Centre. Seen here with dad Ray senior, mum Sandra and sister Chelsea aged 6. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 14, 2016.
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A brave schoolboy, who is battling a rare form of leukaemia, has been presented with one of the highest honours in martial arts.

A brave schoolboy, who is battling a rare form of leukaemia, has been presented with one of the highest honours in martial arts.

Ray Holloway aged 10 from Burnley is suffering from Leukaemia and has just been awarded an honorary black belt by the martial arts group at St Peters Centre. Seen here with sister Chelsea aged 6. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 14, 2016.

Ray Holloway aged 10 from Burnley is suffering from Leukaemia and has just been awarded an honorary black belt by the martial arts group at St Peters Centre. Seen here with sister Chelsea aged 6. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 14, 2016.

Ten-year-old Ray Holloway was presented with an honorary junior black belt from the Terry Fildes Streetwise Ju Jitsu Martial Arts club in recognition of his talent and bravery.

The honour was presented to him by club founder Terry Fildes who has been a martial arts master for 30 years. He was moved and impressed by Ray’s positive attitude even though his illness limits him from doing a lot of things he loves.

Terry, whose club is based at St Peter’s Centre in Burnley, said: “Every credit should go to this young man for his attitude and the way he just gets on with things.

“People talk about facing battles but Ray faces a constant battle and he deserves credit for being so brave and getting on with life. When he first came to the club he showed such promise and potential and he has a lot of talent.

Every credit should go to this young man for his attitude and the way he just gets on with things

Terry Fildes

“I am honoured to present Ray with this award, he has earned it and deserves it. I have so much respect for this young man and his family and the way they are dealing with their situation.”

A pupil at Rosewood Primary School in Burnley, Ray, who has a little sister Chelsea (six) was first diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukaemia five years ago after he kept fainting. The news was a devastating blow for his parents, dad Ray Holloway senior and mum Sandra Kelly who live in the Coal Clough area of Burnley.

Ray (53) said: “Our world was shattered when they told us. No-one wants to hear that their child is so ill.

“We didn’t know anything about the disease but we were told there is no cure and doctors cannot tell us the long term effects either. We just take things one step at a time.”

Ray Holloway aged 10 from Burnley is suffering from Leukaemia and has just been awarded an honorary black belt by the martial arts group at St Peters Centre. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 14, 2016.

Ray Holloway aged 10 from Burnley is suffering from Leukaemia and has just been awarded an honorary black belt by the martial arts group at St Peters Centre. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 14, 2016.

Ray’s diagnosis came after he was referred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for blood tests. He goes there regularly to be monitored and has to take chemotherapy in a tablet form on a daily basis.

Ray Snr added: “He is just a typical little boy who wants to play football, ride his bike and go out with his pals.

“But he doesn’t realise that he has to limit himself as he gets very tired and can easily collapse.

“It is hard not to wrap him in cotton wool because we want him to enjoy life and do the all the things he wants to.”

Because Ray’s illness is almost invisible the family have been faced with a mixed reaction from people when they learn how poorly he is.

Sandra, who is 43, said: “You can’t tell by looking at Ray how ill he is and it makes things difficult sometimes because people don’t understand.

“All we want is for our son to have the best out of life.”