Cradley Heath schoolchildren hold Valentines fundraiser after meeting Geoff Thomas

Halesowen News: Lutfiyya Begum, aged 11, Ben Heywood,17, Geoff Thomas, Shelby Connor, 12, Nic Penn, Tomas Hughes, 11, headteacher Andrew Burns and Ben Lashley, 14. Lutfiyya Begum, aged 11, Ben Heywood,17, Geoff Thomas, Shelby Connor, 12, Nic Penn, Tomas Hughes, 11, headteacher Andrew Burns and Ben Lashley, 14.

ENGLAND footballing hero and charity fundraiser Geoff Thomas visited Cradley Heath to inspire schoolchildren to a Valentine's money-spinner.

Students at Ormiston Forge Academy swapped their uniforms for 'something red' on Valentines day and raised £780 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Geoff Thomas, the former England footballer who survived blood cancer, visited the academy for a prize giving ceremony last year.

The students decided to hold a non-uniform day as a way of thanking Geoff for his time.

Geoff said: "It was an honour to speak at Ormiston Forge Academy's Prize Giving ceremony and I'm humbled that they would raise money as a way of thanks.

"It's testament to the fantastic students they have there."

Principal Andrew Burns said: “The red signifies Valentine's Day but it also represents the great work Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research is doing in trying to cure blood cancers. Forge students always make me proud and Valentine's Day was no exception.

"Geoff Thomas spoke with passion and from his heart at our Prize Giving and the students were inspired. It makes a difference, when the Forge students come together to do something nothing can stop them - they are incredible.”

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research is a leading UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of patients with all types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Cathy Gilman, chief executive at Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, said: "We'd like to say a huge thank you to all the pupils and staff at Ormiston Forge Academy for organising such a fantastic fundraising day for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The money raised from their Non-Uniform Day will help make a real difference to the lives of patients with blood cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma."

After being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2003 Geoff Thomas was lucky; a bone marrow transplant from his sister in 2004 saved his life.

Inspired by the bravery of patients around him and a determination to beat blood cancers, he set up the Geoff Thomas Foundation and was awarded the 2005 BBC Sports Personality Helen Rollason Award in recognition of his charity work.

He is now working with Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research to raise funds for a network of national centres, allowing patients to benefit from the latest advances in the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers.

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