Leeds United stars feature in book written to help eight-year-old fan with leukemia fundraise for the hospital ward treating him

A Leeds United-mad fan is hoping that a book written about his club will help raise funds to help the hospital that is treating him for leukeamia.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 7:21 am

Jude Hawkridge, aged eight, was diagnosed with the blood cancer on Valentine's Day last year and has been receiving treatment at Sheffield Children's Hospital ever since.

Jude and his family, who live in Rotherham, started fundraising by chance after his dad found a £20 note, but since then family and friends have joined in making at least £50,000 for renovations at Ward 6 in Sheffield, which is the cancer and blood disorder ward, with events that range from the London marathon to making bracelets.

The latest fundraiser is a book that has been written by family friend, Dan Fenwick, 22, and is called "Marching On Together". It is based upon Leeds United winning the F.A Cup and features players Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo Moreno, Raphinha and head coach Marcelo Bielsa. However, there is also a subliminal message about overcoming, adversity, being resilient and keeping going.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Eight-year-old Jude Hawridge with the book Marching On Together that has been written to help his fundraising appeal.

Within a fortnight, half of the 500 copies that were printed have been sold and Mr Fenwick, a school cover teacher, hopes there will be enough interest to generate another print run.

He said: "When I saw that he was doing all this fundraising, I wanted to get involved. I was going to do the Three Peaks but have a knee injury so thought how I could get creative. Writing a book is not something I have done before, but really enjoyed it and would like to do another one.

"A few primary schools in the area have taught it in their lessons. I was hoping it would take off but have been amazed by the way that it has. I want to be able to print more and sell more than the 500 so it would be nice if Leeds fans can get behind it."

Copies have been sent to Leeds United fans as far away as Toronto in Canada and Jude's mother, Jo Hawkridge, says the Leeds United community has been so supportive.

Jude Hawkridge appears as a virtual mascot for Leeds United ahead of the game again Newcastle at Elland Road last December.

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "The book is unique and very special. When Dan asked us if he could do it, we were quite honoured really - it is such a nice keepsake for Jude but is a lovely message for people and hopefully kids that are going through what he is.

"I sent Liam Cooper six books last week and asked if he would sign some to raffle off and if the players that were in it would sign it, as I would like to keep one for Jude, and even Bielsa has signed it.

"The Leeds fans have been amazing and the amount of support we have had. A fan in Toronto sent him a 1972 Leeds shirt that he had been saving to give to his son and other fans have sent messages and presents."

Jude has been a season ticket holder at Elland Road since he was five years old. His dad, Jim had taken him to a Rotherham game but "he was bored" and after a family friend took Jude to his first Leeds game, he was obsessed.

Author Dan Fenwick with Jude.

His favourite players are Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips and Jude was meant to attend the Liam Cooper training academy but then got ill. He has also been a virtual mascot at a game which he was allowed to do from his hospital bed.

The young football fan had a bone marrow transplant and his last Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) test proved negative which means there are no cancer cells remaining. However, he will have to have further tests over the next year.

Mrs Hawkridge added: "We know there is a long road, he is in hospital once a week for check ups but he is doing really well."

To order a book click here

The cover of Marching on Together.
Captain Liam Cooper in action against Newcastle.