Cash raised for Helen and Douglas House hospice in tribute to tragic teen Leah Graham

The Oxford Times: Missed: Leah Graham Missed: Leah Graham

FAMILY and friends of a teenager who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis are raising money in her memory.

They are raising cash for the hospice that cared for Abingdon’s Leah Graham, who died on October 31, aged 17.

On Friday a friend held a fundraising evening, while yesterday an aunt took part in the Santa Run in Oxford in her memory.

Aynnsley Walker, who knew Leah from the age of five, helped raise about £300 for Helen & Douglas House hospice at an event at the Fox Inn in Boars Hill, near Oxford, where she works.

The event featured a festive performance from Cumnor Choral Society. Money was also raised through the sale of food and drink and a raffle. Miss Walker, 19, said friends were planning more fundraising events, including a skydive. She said: We want to do as much as possible. That is what she wanted.”

She said of the Oxford hospice: “It helped a lot. She loved going there.”

Pub manager Andrea Dewdney said: “We have looked after Aynnsley a lot. I know how it affected her.”

She added: “A lot of people come in and want to support charities.”

Miss Walker’s mother, Zoe, and Leah’s mother, Selina Jeacock, are friends, living streets apart in the Northcourt area.

Mrs Walker said of her daughter: “I think it is beautiful and amazing and it is nice for her to be able to focus on something so positive.”

Leah had suffered from the disease, in which the lungs are clogged with thick mucus, since she was a child. The former pupil at Fitzharrys and John Mason schools, died at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital, London.

Leah’s aunt Melissa Jeacock, of Austin Place, Abingdon, took part in the Santa Run yesterday.

She said: “It is nice to think Leah is looking down on us laughing her head off at us dressed up in Santa suits.

“It is all still raw, but doing something like this gives us something to focus on.

“It has been tough. I had a baby, 10-week-old Charlie, the day after Leah died.

“It has been hard mourning her death and celebrating the life of a new baby.”

The 36-year-old mum-of-two – the sister of Leah’s mother – raised £280 for the hospice with friends Victoria Simmons, 33, and Kirstie Struggles, 33.

Hospice legacies and in memoriam fundraiser Trish MacIntyre said the East Oxford charity was “incredibly grateful”.

She said: “We have to raise £5m a year. We only get 15 per cent of our funds from the Government.

“We couldn’t possibly exist without the support of the public and events like this.”

* To sponsor Miss Jeacock, go to Jeacock


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