Youngster with rare illness inspires boxing pals to take on challenge

Thomas Fletcher with his parents Nikki and Richard.
Thomas Fletcher with his parents Nikki and Richard.
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KIND-hearted cops plan to scale new heights to raise money for a chronically ill seven-year-old boy.

More than 30 officers serving in Chesterfield with Derbyshire Police, along with their families and friends, plan to take part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in aid of Thomas Fletcher, who has a rare form of lung disease.

The team aims to complete the sponsored walk in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which takes in the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, within 12 hours to raise money to pay for Thomas’ future medical needs.

The youngster, from Walton, was diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans when he was three and has been undergoing treatment ever since. He may eventually need a lung transplant.

Thomas is known to Derbyshire Police through Ozbox classes he attends with his mum Nikki, dad Richard and brother Alex. The boxing-based fitness sessions are run by Detective Sergeant Steve Osbaldeston in Chesterfield.

All those taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge are either instructors or participants in the weekly Ozbox sessions held at Chesterfield Police Station.

Thomas’ mum Nikki said: “The Ozbox facilities have really helped take his mind off what he’s going through and the trainers have supported us 100 per cent along the way to help make Thomas’s days at Ozbox fun.

“It has made the hospital a place that Thomas isn’t afraid to go to now as he has become more confident in himself.” DC Lee Oldham, an Ozbox coach who organised the fundraising challenge, said: “Thomas is a very brave child and has showed tremendous courage, you can’t help but feel emotional when you watch him partake in the sessions. He’s a very special boy with a heart of gold.”

Ozbox founder DS Osbaldeston added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Thomas and his family, as he has shown that sport and play is such a big part of a child’s recovery.”

To donate call DS Osbaldeston on 01246 522304.