A BOXING display and open sparring event has raised a ring full of cash to help pay for cancer treatment for a little girl.
Anya Bentham, who is 22 months old, is being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool for an advanced form of an aggressive cancer called neuroblastoma.
An appeal to raise £250,000 to pay for Anya, of Christleton, to have pioneering treatment – which is not available on the NHS – in America has been set up and has already raised more than £40,000 in just a few months.
The boxing event, raffle and auction, held at Connah’s Quay Civic Hall, has added more than £4,000 to the fund.
Anya’s mum and dad, Naomi Stanley, who is from Connah’s Quay, and Graeme Bentham, dropped in to thank those taking part for raising so much money.
The event was the brainchild of Deeside College student Andy Hughes and his wife Leah.
Andy, 29, climbed into the ring himself, for the first time ever, for a sparring session with multiple Welsh super heavyweight champion and Commonwealth Games boxer Andy Jones, 29.
Graeme Bentham says he cannot express in words his gratitude to the local boxers who took part and for the amount of money they helped raise.
He said: “It might not have been a proper fight but I take my hat off to Andy Hughes climbing into a ring with someone of the stature of Andy Jones.
“They put on a really good show and I’m sure Andy Jones was being very gentle with him although it didn’t look that way to me.
“It’s amazing how the appeal has taken off and it seems so many people are willing to help in all sorts of ways. The fact the Civic Hall was packed with everyone being so generous is amazing. We can’t thank people enough.”
Naomi added: “It brought tears to my eyes watching the boxing and how much effort everyone put in. We really can’t thank Andy, Leah and everyone connected to the event enough. It’s simply amazing.”
Andy Hughes, who is hoping to land a place at university in September to study paramedic science, said: “We are really pleased with the way things have gone but I am announcing my retirement from the boxing ring after just one experience.
“Andy Jones is a real sport for agreeing to take part in the event. And I know he could have really hurt me had he wanted to. I can’t believe how fast he can move and how powerful and skilful he is but he put on an exhibition of boxing skills for everyone.
“We are also grateful to Checkpoint for sponsoring the event and all the local boxers who gave up their time to put the demonstration together.
“However, I think the next time we decide to put together a charity event I’ll pick a different sport that’s not quite as hard or physically demanding. Anyone for bowls?”
People can support Anya’s appeal by going to www. facebook.com/AnyaBentham Appeal and donations can be made at www.justgiving. com/appeal4anya