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Public rally to raise cash to get boys to USA

PUBLISHED: 16:29 26 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:29 26 February 2016

Bereaved brothers Jack Rayner (right) and Kallum Lynch (left).
An appeal has been launched called Jo's Last Wish to raise the £25,000 to enable two brothers to be adopted by their aunt in America.

Picture: James Bass

Bereaved brothers Jack Rayner (right) and Kallum Lynch (left). An appeal has been launched called Jo's Last Wish to raise the £25,000 to enable two brothers to be adopted by their aunt in America. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

Donations have been flooding in from all over the country to help two bereaved boys begin a new life with their aunt in America.

Donations have been flooding in from all over the country to help two bereaved boys begin a new life with their aunt in America.

The fund to help Kallum Lynch, aged nine, and seven-year-old Jack Rayner fulfil their mother’s dying wish has raised an impressive £8000 in less than a week and a raft of events have been planned including a gala show.

Pledges to Jo’s Last Wish, an online donation page set up by the boys’ school in Great Yarmouth, have come from as far as Yorkshire and Cornwall as their story touches hearts across the nation.

But it is the actions of local people who have dropped off cheques and raffle prizes to organisers at Edward Worlledge Primary School - the hub of the fundraising effort - that have stunned staff there.

Linda Dickeson, the school support manager, said everyone involved was astounded at how the fund had taken off as magazines and TV stations queued up to cover the family’s heartbreaking story in which Jo Lynch, her mother and four-year-old sister all die of the same form of cancer.

Kallum also battled the same disease as a toddler and will soon need an operation on his back.

Mrs Dickeson said: “We are all impressed and quite shocked by how it has taken off in less than a week. It is getting close to £8000 and that seems to be a lot of local people putting their hands in their pockets. People have been very generous and very kind.”

The boys’ mother Jo Lynch died of cancer in July aged 29 thinking her young sons would be cared for by her sister Sam Wells and her family across the pond. In the meantime they have been living with their grandfather Patrick Lynch in Shakespeare Road, but his deteriorating health means the arrangement cannot be long term and getting them to their only other relative in America remains the priority.

However their mother’s dying wish was put at risk when it emerged that the complex adoption process would cost an estimated £25,000.

If successful it is reckoned they will be the first English children to be adopted in the country for seven years.

Adding to the urgency is the knowledge that if Mr Lynch falls ill and the boys are taken into care, the adoption cannot go ahead under US rules.

However staff at Edward Worlledge say they are determined to raise the full amount and send the boys to America this summer where a school is already lined up to take them.

Mr Lynch, of Shakespeare Road, said that while re-telling his story was difficult he would do whatever it took to raise the money.

With so many requests for interviews he joked that he needed an agent but was deeply touched by the many donations and poignant messages of support, most of which had come from people he had never met. He said that every penny was appreciated and that the school had been “absolutely brilliant”.

Other local schools had been in touch saying they were staging non-uniform days in aid of the fund, and the Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston, was making itself available for free for a gala charity night which is to be staged on Friday April 22.

Edward Worlledge is hosting a bingo night on March 11 and is appealing for raffle prizes to support their various events and add to the crop of goodies already collected including a signed Norwich City shirt, weekend break at Hopton Holiday Park and restaurant gift tokens.

Facebook and Twitter accounts are keeping people updated and actively seeking celebrity backers.

An anonymous donation for £500 and £2100 from the USA via Paypal have swelled the fund which is close to a third of a way to its £25,000 target.

To donate money or a prize contact the school via office@edwardworlledge.norfolk.sch.uk.

Alternatively visit the crowdfunder site Jo’s Last Wish.

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