Ipswich pub to open charity shop as fight to help toddler with cancer continues
PUBLISHED: 08:09 19 February 2020
A popular Ipswich pub is set to open its own charity shop to help stage four cancer struck toddler Ireland Banham.
Ireland, who is 21 months old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a rare form of cancer which attacks nerve cells in the body - last July.
The brave toddler has remained bubbly throughout her gruelling journey, dancing and singing along to rapper Stormzy, while being overwhelmed with Christmas cards from members of the community last year.
But the vaccine which could prevent her from relapsing after remission is not available under the NHS - prompting mum Chloe to raise money to fund the life-saving treatment. So far, the JustGiving page for Ireland has raised more than £24,000.
Now, in an attempt to raise more money for the young family, the Kingfisher pub is set to open its own charity shop in its former coffee shop space, with Ipswich MP Tom Hunt due to attend its official opening on Saturday, February 29. The Chantry pub has already helped raise more than £3,000 for the cause, including through head shaves with Ipswich Against Gangs, while a horse racing night, 80s disco and car wash event are also planned in the coming months.
Landlady Penny Youngs-Debnam said: "I first met Ireland a couple of months ago and it broke my heart.
"She really got to me, seeing what the poor little girl is going through is awful.
"We are always looking for donations, anything which can help us help her."
In May, Inspire Suffolk in Lindbergh Road will host a charity football tournament for Ireland, with emergency services, face painters and a bouncy castle on offer to local families.
Last year, the mother of Sunderland AFC fan Bradley Lowery - who made headlines for his friendship with former England striker Jermain Defoe before his death from neuroblastoma in 2017 - visited Ireland and her mum Chloe as they launched the fundraising campaign.
At the time, Mrs Lowery said: "Ireland is absolutely beautiful and every child, no matter what age, whatever the illness, deserves the chance to live and so if we can enable that and support the families in any way possible then we will."
The charity shop at the pub in Hawthorn Drive will be open at least six days a week, Mrs Youngs-Debnam confirmed.