Five years ago, Sprowston couple Alex and Kirsty Taylor had to do the one thing no parent ever wishes to do - say goodbye to one of their children.

Brave Sophie Taylor was just five years old when she died from a rare form of bone cancer.

Throughout her fight with the condition, Sophie captured the imagination by defiantly sticking her tongue out to cancer and struck up a close bond with then Norwich City midfielder James Maddison, who was touched by her story.

Eastern Daily Press:

Ever since her death on January 19, 2019, her parents and two siblings, Connor and Evie, have fought to keep her memory alive and ensure she left a lasting legacy.

The family has set up a charitable fund in her memory - Sophie's Sparkle - and have devoted themselves to supporting others who find themselves in the same situation they did.

Eastern Daily Press: James Maddison carries Sophie Taylor on Saturday, April 7. Photo: Jasonpix/NCFC

And they are hoping their latest gesture will help one day discover a cure for the very cancer that claimed the life of their beloved daughter.

The Taylors have put £40,000 from a golf day organised by England international Maddison towards a breakthrough research project at the University of East Anglia for a drug that halts the spread of bone cancer.

Eastern Daily Press: Sophie Taylor has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Picture: Taylor family

The drug has been pioneered by Darrell Green, who provided care for Sophie and has been nicknamed Bensofib  - but requires further testing before it can be used on patients.

Mr Taylor, 36, said: "We are determined to make sure no family has to go through what we did.

"This research brings hope to countless children and families affected by this disease - every pound we raise gets us one step closer to beating this disease."

The breakthrough last year was heralded as "the most important discovery in 50 years" - but requires an extra £2.3m to advance to a clinical drug trial.

Eastern Daily Press: Sophie Taylor, who died age five in January 2019, from bone cancer.

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