Alford

A teenage girl diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after a scan on a broken leg is now back home with her family after six months in hospital.

Holly Ralph, 16, from Sloothby, near Alford, has been battling osteosarcoma – cancer that starts in the cells that form the bones – for the past six months.

The teenager had been suffering with a pain in her leg prior to the break, but at the time it was believed to be growing pains. However, it was in fact a tumour and she spent four months undergoing chemotherapy in Nottingham City Hospital.

Holly was transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) for an 11-hour operation to remove the tumour. In the process of the surgery, Holly’s knee was also removed and then rebuilt with metal.

Holly’s mum Sadie said: “We thought that Holly was fine and that it was just growing pains, so it was a huge shock when we found out that she had osteosarcoma and had to start receiving chemotherapy as soon as possible.

“The majority of Holly’s treatment has been in Nottingham and I have been able to stay with her. However, when we were told we’d need to go to Newcastle I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep next to her as she’d be in intensive care.

“I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably have to sleep in a chair in the hospital. I did try to do that one night in Nottingham and I fell off in the middle of the night. I wasn’t too keen to repeat that experience, plus I needed to get some rest to stay strong for Holly.”

The teenager spent two nights in intensive care but never faced the journey alone. Her mum Sadie was able to stay at The Sick Children’s Trust ‘Home from Home’ Crawford House, meaning Holly was never alone.

After being discharged from intensive care in Newcastle, Holly returned to Nottingham for further chemotherapy. Recently, she has been allowed to return home to be with her family in between courses, after six months in hospital.

Sadie and her daughter Holly at home.

Sadie added: “I only needed to stay in the ‘Home from Home’ for two nights and it was such a relief. I can imagine that for families who need this service for weeks, or months, it is an incredible weight off their shoulders to know that they have somewhere to stay, free of charge, that they can cook their own food in, or have some space to relax and watch some TV.

“We have recently been able to spend some time at home, which was something we’d been looking forward to for a very long time. Holly has been quite poorly but is recovering well from her operation and has started her next 18 weeks of chemo.”

A heartbroken mother from Alford who has tried five times to have a child, only to suffer miscarriages or devastating deaths, is fundraising to pay for a funeral for her baby boy Archie.

Hayley Collins was born with a severe heart condition in which just one part of a ventricle was formed. For context, a typically healthy human heart has two ventricles and two atria, Hayley has just part of one ventricle.

She has undergone multiple open heart surgeries in her 29-year life, but at the age of 18 she was told he could never have or carry a child.

Archie only survived for one week on ventilation. | Photo: Chelsea Collins

Despite this, in 2016 she fell pregnant for the first time and went into spontaneous labour after 26 weeks, undergoing an emergency C-section.

Freddie, her first child, was born in September 2016, but only survived three weeks after developing Necrotising Enterocolitis, which inflames the intestines and develops severe gut infections.

Following this, Hayley tragically went on to have three unfortunate miscarriages, leaving her at a loss in her dreams of carrying a child.

The tragedies Hayley has suffered are unimaginable. | Photo: Chelsea Collins

After meeting her now partner Dave, she fell pregnant for a 5th time in 2020, but this one again came with complications.

At 26 weeks gestation, on July 15, 2021, Hayley went for a hospital checkup and found her baby’s heart rate to be dropping significantly.

A decision was made for Hayley to have another emergency C-section to prevent her having to go through a stillbirth, and Archie was born.

Tragically, he had severe bleeds on his brain and in his bowel, only surviving a week before the difficult decision was made to remove his ventilation on July 23.

Archie received big cuddles in his short time on earth, and now the family want to give him the send off he deserves. | Photo: Chelsea Collins

Hayley managed to have a proper send off for her first born child Freddie, but due to finances being very short, they are worried that they can’t hold a big funeral for Archie.

A fundraiser has been set up to help Hayley and Dave along the way, and already it has received £1,000 worth of donations.

It was set up by Hayley’s sister Chelsea Collins, who shared the difficult memories of Archie’s final day before his ventilator was removed.

“We had many cuddles with him on his last day,” Chelsea said. “As we were having cuddles, his saturation levels were dropping. He was on 97% oxygen, but his saturation couldn’t pick up above 76%.

“It was evident he was dying on us and the time had come. We removed the ventilator and around five minutes later, he passed away peacefully.”

Funds raised will go towards transport costs to the funeral, a plot for him to be buried in near his brother, a headstone and a coffin, as well as other organisation costs.

If you wish to donate to the cause, visit the GoFundMe page.

Thousands of sparkling bubbles floated around the funeral cortege for a Louth mother and son who were tragically killed in their home in Louth.

Dozens of people gathered at the roadside as the procession made its way to Alford Crematorium on Wednesday, July 14 to pay their respects to 26-year-old Bethany Vincent and her nine-year-old son Darren ‘DJ’ Henson.

| Photo: John Aron

Daniel Boulton, 29, of Alexandra Road in Skegness was charged with their murders after Bethany and Darren were found with multiple stab wounds in a property on High Holme Road on May 31.

He will appear before a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on September 27. A provisional trial date has also been set for January 10.

Their deaths sent waves of shock through the local community and more than £11,000 was donated on a fundraiser in their memory. 

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise money towards the funerals of Louth murder victims Bethany Vincent and Darren Henson.

Heartbroken friends, family and local people marked Darren’s love of bubbles by sending bursts of them into the air when the funeral cars passed by.

People were also given blue and pink balloons.

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

The hearse carrying Bethany was filled with cream, pink and blue flowers, along with a photograph of the young mother.

Darren followed, with bright blue floral tributes nodding to his favourite football team, Chelsea. He was also pictured in a silver frame wearing a smart shirt.

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

Due to restrictions, a few people attended a service at the crematorium.

Bethany’s sister Chloe had invited friends to stand outside the crematorium. She also asked that any donations are made to either Betheirvoice – a new charity set up in their honour to tackle domestic abuse, or Eresby school where Darren attended.

Chloe said: “We hope no other family has to go through the pain we are all feeling and will feel for the rest of our lives. We love you all. And thank you all so much.

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

| Photo: John Aron

People turned out to shower the procession in bubbles, in memory of the mother and son. | Photo: John Aron

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