Children's Liver Disease FoundationA poignant success story with a sad ending

Alan hits bullseye with darts match for grandson Jack
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Alan Rockliffe with grandson Jack in early November
Family support: Alan Rockliffe’s grandson Jack suffers from liver disease. (Alan is pictured with Jack in early November)
By Nick Tarver

A GRANDAD has organised a charity darts match between the Handlebar Moustache Club and The Pipe Club Of London in aid of a charity which helped his sick grandson.

Alan Rockliffe’s seven-month-old grandson, Jack, was born with a life-threatening liver disease and is awaiting a transplant.

The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation has helped Jack and his parents, Chris and Kimberley, since he was diagnosed as suffering from biliary atresia shortly after birth. At five weeks old he battled through life-saving surgery and is now on the liver transplant list.

After the help Jack’s parents received from the CLDF, Alan, from Hertford Road, Ponders End, who is a member of both clubs, decided to unite them for a charity darts match at the Thatcher’s Arms, in Brentwood, Essex.

The Handlebar Moustache Club, established in 1947, brings together moustache wearers socially for sport and friendship and for charity work. The Pipe Club Of London, formed in 1970, has more than 300 members in 26 countries and encourages the appreciation of quality pipes and tobacco.

The 55-year-old said: “Jack’s a happy baby who loves to laugh and giggle, but he is very sick. It has looked touch and go – we had him christened last weekend after giving the vicar 24 hours’ notice.

“The idea for the match came from me after the CLDF supported us, by providing crucial advice. As I’m a member of both clubs I brought them together for the darts.”

The Handblebar Moustache Club won the match, which was held last Saturday, and a total of £500 was raised for the charity.

Alan added: “Jack is currently in and out of hospital, receiving excellent care from the staff at King’s College Hospital, London. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but the research CLDF funds really does give me hope for the future.”

Catherine Arkley, chief executive of CLDF, which funds research into childhood liver disease and offers support to parents, said: “It’s great seeing two traditional and very unusual clubs pull together for a great cause. Jack has had a difficult start to life and in the past his outlook would not have been so bright. This is down to continued research, much of which has been funded by CLDF.”

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