Harefield 'totally amazing' says gran of 8 year-old cancer sufferer as event raises vital cash

8 year-old Jess with the Mayor of Hillingdon 8 year-old Jess with the Mayor of Hillingdon

The grandmother of a young girl suffering with cancer says she has been overwhelmed by the “totally amazing” support from the people of Harefield after a music festival raised nearly £3,000.

Harestock Festival, organised to help Jess Shepherd, 8, from Ruislip, took place last weekend.

The money raised through the event will go towards the £300,000 goal to help the Harefield Primary School pupil to get to America for special treatment she can't get in the UK.

Jess is suffering from a rare form of childhood cancer for the fourth time.

Her gran Louise Dillon Walker, expressed her gratitude for those who organised or attended the event, and said that the community's support “chokes her up”.

The family have been surprised at the amount of events and money raised from residents so far.

Various fundraisers have taken place, including a special charity football game, featuring ex-professionals.

Louise said: “I wasn’t expecting this, I must admit. We thought maybe there would be a couple of bake sales. But no, Harefield has been absolutely brilliant and this is what a village is - totally amazing.”

Click here for more on Jess's story and what her family recently told Hillingdon is Here.

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Gary South, chairman and president of Harefield Football Club, has spoken of the heartbreaking situation of seeing Jess fight against the illness at such a young age.

Inspired by her plight, Gary, a musician, set up the event. He said: “We have raised £2,800 with some funds still to come in. One of our neighbours even sent a tenner over because they said they were sitting in their garden enjoying the music.”

Despite recent medical treatment, Jess was able to attend the festival.

Gary said: “Jess had a great day playing on the bouncy castles, whose operators donated their day’s takings to the fund.

Steve and Bernie, from the Big Bounce Theory, were among businesses from the area that helped, providing bouncy castles on the day.

Gary said: “Big thanks to Maylings Transport for providing the stage and DS Preston Garages for sponsoring the PA system. Also the back room team of Paula, Karen, Mel, Nicky and Mandy. If it hadn't been for their support and encouragement I'd still be just thinking about it.”

Eleven music acts, including The Gary South Band, took to the stage for the event.

The Mayor of Hillingdon John Hensley and Mayoress Diane Hensley opened the festival. The Mayor, whose grandson goes to school with Jess, has been involved in a number of events to help raise awareness and money for the cause.

Further events have been planned to help the family reach their £300,000 goal with a fun day at Harefield Cricket Club and a Jingle Bell Ball in December.

Jess has been fighting a rare childhood cancer on and off since she was three. Although it went into remission spontaneously, she suffered the first relapse on 28 December 2013.

She named her tumour Boris and thereafter the Help Jess Beat Boris campaign sprung into action. She recently met Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Boris Johnson, pictured below.

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Jess met MP Boris Johnson at the civic centre recently

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