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Events at The Millstone Inn, Ryhall, in memory of Tommy Rodgers from Stamford who died from Kawasaki disease

Events in memory of a little boy who died earlier this year have raised thousands of pounds.

Over the Easter weekend, family and friends of 14-month-old Tommy Rodgers teamed up with The Millstone Inn, Ryhall, to put on live music and a fun day supporting Societi, the UK Kawasaki Disease Foundation.

Starting on Friday evening with live music from The Herbie Lamb Quartet Jazz band, more music was to follow on Saturday from Triple Seven - Millstone landlord Andrew Thomas’s band - and food by Tuk Tuk.

Katie Youngs, Daniel Rodgers, Dona Youngs, Simon Youngs, Mandy Plumb, Eric Plumb, Elizabeth Brown, Krystal Brown, Amelia Pozella and Ezme Ley. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Katie Youngs, Daniel Rodgers, Dona Youngs, Simon Youngs, Mandy Plumb, Eric Plumb, Elizabeth Brown, Krystal Brown, Amelia Pozella and Ezme Ley. Photo: Chris Lowndes

A family fun day followed on Easter Sunday, starting with a duck race on the River Gwash through the village that involved 500 ducks and spectators lining the bridge and riverbanks, as well as an Easter egg hunt, a visit from the Easter Bunny, a disco, a bouncy castle, and a magic show.

People were kept well fed with barbecued food, plus Gino’s ice creams, while the magician held the attention of about 30 children for two hours with his tricks.

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On Sunday, Tommy’s parents Katie Youngs and Dan Rodgers, helped by Societi, supplied people with information about Kawasaki disease and sold fundraising merchandise and, as a finale, on Easter Monday (April 1) local singer Jordon Poole was on the mic.

Denise Chickholland and Edwin Mee. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Denise Chickholland and Edwin Mee. Photo: Chris Lowndes

Katie said: “The kids loved the fun day. Everyone there was enjoying family time and raising money that will help other families.

“The amount of community support has been overwhelming, through donations and people helping to get the message out there about Kawasaki disease.

“And the support of the Millstone has gone above and beyond. I’m so grateful for what they have done and their enthusiasm over the weekend.”

Katie has thrown herself into supporting the Societi charity, which she discovered after searching online for information about Kawasaki disease following Tommy’s diagnosis.

Tommy Rodgers
Tommy Rodgers

She said: “My other three children have gone back to school, Dan has gone back to work but my job - looking after Tommy - ended on January 25. I am using my time to raise awareness so that other families don’t have to lose a child like we did.”

Working with Societi, Katie has sent information to the 99 GP surgeries in Lincolnshire to make doctors more aware, as well as contacting nurseries and childcare providers.

She has already heard from someone whose child was diagnosed early with Kawasaki disease because of her speaking out about it.

“I’ve got the rest of my life to mourn so it is now that I need to try to save other lives,” said Katie, who added that symptoms are similar to measles, scarlet fever and bacterial meningitis.

Millstone manager and licensee Sophie Burkhill, a friend of Katie’s for many years, said: “A lot of people came along to support the weekend and everyone was generous with their donations.

“By Sunday night people had helped to raise £1,100 and the charity sold £900 in merchandise. We have a collection pot on the bar that will stay there throughout the year because we’re having this as our charity of the year at the pub.”

More money has also been donated over the weekend through the JustGiving page https://justgiving.com/campaign/teamtoms

All 500 ducks in the duck race were bought for £1 each, with Tommy’s sister, Ezme, very excited to launch the race with a blast on an airhorn.

Eight-year-old Ezme Ley sets off the duck race. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Eight-year-old Ezme Ley sets off the duck race. Photo: Chris Lowndes

The duck race winner was one-year-old Darcy Peasgood, who netted - to her parents’ delight - a £50 bar tab.

A whole book of raffle tickets were also sold, with a meat raffle, plus a raffle of various prizes including vouchers, toys, games and other items.

Sophie added: “There was also an Easter cake donated by Heavenly Bakes of Wittering, which Tommy’s oldest sister, Krystal, won. She had been eyeing it up all day saying it was what she wanted to win, so that was lovely.

“Tommy’s brother and sisters had told their mum they didn’t want Easter eggs this year, but instead money to spend over the weekend to support the charity.”

Liam Mosley was the duck catcher. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Liam Mosley was the duck catcher. Photo: Chris Lowndes

Sophie and Tommy’s mum, Katie, are now planning more fundraising events to be held throughout the year, including a black tie ball, ‘Tommyfest’ in the summer, and karaoke nights.

Tommy was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease a week after falling ill in early January. He died in hospital on January 25.

Since then his mum and dad, who live in Lambeth Walk, Stamford, have wanted to raise awareness of the disease.

The symptoms of Kawasaki disease
The symptoms of Kawasaki disease
Signs of Kawasaki disease
Signs of Kawasaki disease

Katie, 31, said it would “mean everything” if they could save the life of another child by ensuring other parents and carers could recognise signs of the disease early enough.

The condition mainly affects under fives who are likely to have a high temperature for five days or more, with one or more of the other symptoms – a rash, swollen glands in the neck, red eyes, cracked lips, a bumpy red tongue, a red mouth or swollen and red hands and feet.

Without treatment the condition can lead to heart problems, which can be fatal.

To donate visit: https://justgiving.com/campaign/teamtoms

Anyone interested in buying a red Societi t-shirt to raise awareness and funds for the charity can find out about sizes by messaging Katie Youngs on Facebook.

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