Youngsters rally round dad with terminal cancer

Andy Williams, left, holds his son Harry's hand at The Heights, Hemel Hempstead
Andy Williams, left, holds his son Harry's hand at The Heights, Hemel Hempstead

A group of selfless youngsters have spent the first week of their summer holiday collecting donations for a dad-of-two living with terminal cancer.

The children, aged between five and 13, began asking for donations outside the Co-Op at The Heights in Hemel Hempstead last week after their friends’ father was 
given the devastating news that he has just weeks to live.

Andy Williams, of Saturn Way, Hemel Hempstead, was hospitalised with liver cancer last month and as a result has not been able to do his job as a binman for Dacorum Borough Council since.

As his claim for disability support is still being processed, Andy was struggling to make ends meet before the children came up with the idea to raise some cash to help him enjoy the time he has left.

Fighting back tears, the 43-year-old said: “I’m just overwhelmed. I can’t thank them enough for what they have done.”

Over four days, the group – many of whom also live on Saturn Way – raised £552 from passers-by, which has allowed Andy to buy essential toiletries and new clothes, as his old ones no longer fit.

He has treated his children Leah, nine, and seven-year-old Harry to their favourite takeaway curry and is planning to take them out for the day soon.

On Saturday evening, he was able to use some of the funds to enjoy a 90s evening at the Marchmont Arms where he met boyband East 17 and sat alongside them while they performed Stay Another Day – a song he has chosen to be played at his funeral.

One of the youngsters – 13-year-old Calista Dickson – said: “When we heard about Andy, we just wanted to help.”

The children who helped Calista and Andy’s children Leah and Harry are: Donna Davies, 12; Saffron Athill, 11 and her sister Tia, seven; Elizabeth Reichardt, 12, and her sister Joanna, eight; twins Destiny and Shaquille Johnson, 12; Shay Twydell, five, and Sasha Payne, 11.