Olympian Sophie gives wings to brave Tia's Jet Set Angels project
Homegrown Olympian Sophie Hitchon was the guest of honour at a primary school that is celebrating good news for a brave young pupil who is battling a rare form of cancer.
Doctors have told Tia Taggart (seven) that 95% of her tumours have shrunk and treatment has been suspended for the time being. The great news comes as a class project to raise money for Tia and her family has reached the Â£11,000 mark and counting.
The Jet Set Angel project was launched in March this year by Tia's teacher Mrs Carol Carlile and her classmates at St John's RC Primary School in Padiham.
They started making tiny angels to sell at Â£1 each and before they knew it the angels were flying all over the world as more people heard about the project and little Tia's courageous battle.
To date around 6,000 angels have flown around the world to a variety of landmarks and destinations with many supporters including members of the Royal Family and a host of celebrities and sporting stars.
After reading about the the Jet Set Angels in the Burnley Express, Sophie's grandmother Irene Hitchon, who herself is a former pupil at St John's, bought an angel for Sophie to take with her to the Olympic games in Rio.
And today, Sophie, who won a bronze medal when she broke the British record in the hammer throwing event, was given a VIP reception at the school including an angel "guard of honour" when she arrived with her mum, Wendy.
And the young sports star was moved to tears by the story of the Jet Set Angels.
She said: "It has been lovely for me to come here today and meet Tia who is such a wonderful little girl.
"The angels project is just brilliant and I feel honoured that I was asked to be part of it.
"I had my angel next to me in Rio and I am sure she helped me to do my best."
After the VIP assembly, where students got the chance to ask the Olympian a series of questions, Sophie was invited to take part in a special angel making workshop with Tia and her big sister Tegan (nine).
And Sophie showed she has another talent when she managed to create a selection of angels that will all be sold for Â£! each.
Tia and Tegan also presented Sophie with a specially made angel to commemorate the Olympics and three pairs of angel earrings for herself, her mum and her grandma.
Headteacher Mrs Kathleen McKeating said: "We never expected the project to take off as it did and its success has been tremendous.
"I would like to thank everyone who has supported us. For a small community to raise such a terrific amount is superb."