A mountain of chocolate oranges have been collected at St Helens town hall to deliver to hospital and hospices across the region in memory of a four-year-old boy who lost his battle with a rare illness.
Around 7,000 Terry’s Chocolate Oranges have been donated this year as part of Chocolate Orange Challenge 2016, the project of St Helens resident Chris Lamb who lost his son Elliot to a condition called Congenital Cytomegalovirus just before Christmas 2010, aged just four.
Hundreds of people, including the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens Councillors Dave and Jeanette Banks, Acting Council Leader Andy Bowden, war veteran Andy Reid, boxer Martin Murray and the Cowley school choir, turned out to support Chris as he sets off to distribute the treats to Inspire Risk Management Ltd in Warrington before going onto Whiston Hospital, Willowbrook Hospice, Zoë’s Place and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Set up in 2011, the appeal has seen over 13,000 chocolate oranges collected which all started as a light-hearted joke between Chris and hospital staff when he bought a chocolate orange as a thank you to one of the physiotherapists for their kindness, care and compassion when Elliot was in hospital.
Word soon got around among other medical professionals, and Chris ended up buying more and more every time Elliott was in hospital.
Following Elliot’s death, Chris decided he wanted to do something positive to cherish his memory, and so came up with the idea of collecting as many chocolate oranges to be shared nationwide.
Chris said: “Helping others to come to terms with their own loss is very special for me and it important that they know that there is always hope, even in the darkest hours.
“When I lost Elliott, my life changed forever. Without the support from my loved ones, family, friends – and even complete strangers - I could not have come this far and to see the challenge grow each year.”