Friends rally to join Facebook group in Matthew's memory
FRIENDS of a bereaved mum from Cheltenham are set to hold a vigil this weekend to remember a special little man.
Mel Hall, from Bishop's Cleeve, has set up a Facebook group calling on people to light a candle on Saturday to mark what would have been the 10th birthday of her son Matthew.
The youngster passed away in November 2009, just days after turning seven.
He suffered from Late Infantile Batten's Disease – a rare condition which affected his nervous system – causing him to lose the ability to walk, talk and see.
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Since his death Mel has campaigned to raise funds and awareness about the disease – for which there is no known cure. Now she is calling on more than 1,000 friends and contacts via Facebook – most of them living in and around Cheltenham – to mark the day with the poignant gesture.
As well as raising awareness, she is hoping people will make a small donation to the Batten Disease Family Association.
She said: "I hope people will join me in lighting a candle to celebrate my darling Matthew's 10th birthday. He sadly had to leave us after his courageous battle with Late Infantile Batten's Disease became too much for him.
"It seems like only yesterday but is now nearing three years ago.
"I simply cannot put into words how much he is missed by us all, every second of every day."
She added that if people wished they could relight the candle later in the month on November 21 – the day Matthew died.
She added: "Maybe once his birthday has passed people will be kind enough to relight their candles and let them burn in memory of our gorgeous blue eyed boy and children sadly gone far too soon from Batten's Disease.
"Matthew was such a special beautiful little boy – too special to ever be forgotten by all those whose hearts he managed to touch and continues to do so.
"Before Matthew died I promised him I will keep raising awareness for the cure of Batten's Disease and keep fighting for that much-needed cure one day. Maybe this will help a little – I hope so."
More than 160 people have already made a donation via Mel's page, helping to raise almost £2,000.
For more information about the condition go to www.bdfa-uk.org.uk