A class project to raise money for a brave little girl, who is fighting a rare form of cancer, has taken flight and gone global.
The Royal family and a host of celebrities and people across the world are now supporting the Jet Set Angel project that was the idea of a group of six-year-olds at St John’s RC Primary School in Padiham.
They wanted to do something to help their classmate, Tia Taggart who is battling Ewings’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
With the help of teacher Carole Carlile the children started to make little angels to sell at £1 each and before they knew it the angels were flying all over the world as more people heard about the project and seven-year-old Tia’s courageous battle.
Mrs Carlile 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 she 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 girlMrs Carlile
“In all my teaching career I have never known such a positive and determined little girl.”
After setting a target of around £40 to help Tia’s family with travel expenses for her numerous trips to hospital for treatment, the total now stands at a staggering £2,000.
Mrs Carole 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.
“We thought that perhaps we could raise a bit of money to put towards travel costs as Tia has to go to Manchester Children’s Hospital every three weeks for chemotherapy.”
The angels, made of sparkly beads and tiny baubles, became an instant hit with families and friends at the school clamouring to buy them and also offering to sell them. And so far, around 4,000 have spread their wings and made their way around the world. They have also been taken on safari, sky dives and competed in triathlons as tiny good luck charms.
Year Six pupils then came up with the idea of writing off to a host of celebrities asking for their support for the Jet Set Angels. They even despatched an angel to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who sent a lovely letter of support to the school. Letters and photographs of themselves with the Jet Set Angels have also arrived from former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, CBeebies star Andy Day and singer Rick Astley who’s latest hit Angels On My Side has been adopted by the school.
Mrs Carlile said: “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.
“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.”
Mrs Carlile’s daughter, Charlotte even sent one in a bottle off the coast of Bournemouth which was discovered on a beach in France a month later.
The money raised will now be put towards a well deserved holiday for Tia and her parents, Gill and Lee and her big sister Tegan (nine) after her chemotherapy treatment has finished in a few weeks. Plucky Tia has just undergone 35 gruelling rounds of radiotherapy treatment.
Gill, who is manager at 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, we cannot thank them enough.
“Tia is such a brave a 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.’’
A facebook page set up by Mrs Carlile called Jet Set Angels received 500 likes within days and orders are flowing in thick and fast for the Jet Set Angels. Mrs Carlile added: “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.”
• The Jet Set Angels can be bought through facebook or via the school website at www.st-john.lancs.sch.uk. The price is £1 for an angel, £2 for a keyring and £3 for a bookmark. They are also on sale at Emma’s News in Padiham Road, Burnley.