Josie's dragonfly legacy will help other children

The strength and determination of terminally-ill teenager Josie Grove touched the heart of the nation. But for the people of North Elmham, near Dereham, the courage of the 16-year-old in refusing treatment during her last months was true to the girl whose battle they have followed from the start.

The strength and determination of terminally-ill teenager Josie Grove touched the heart of the nation.

But for the people of North Elmham, near Dereham, the courage of the 16-year-old in refusing treatment during her last months was true to the girl whose battle they have followed from the start.

The community rallied round villagers Jenny and Trevor Strudwicke and raised about £4,000 for their granddaughter during her two-year struggle against acute myeloid leukaemia.

Josie died on Monday February 26 but her brave decision to refuse treatment to enjoy her last days with her family moved people from across the UK to raise about £55,000 for children suffering with leukaemia.

Mrs Strudwicke said: “Everybody in the village has really done a lot to help and taken a very keen interest in Josie.

“Different groups locally must have raised about £4,000 and there were little things like a teddy bear being put in a local shop window in support of Josie.”

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Mr Strudwicke said: “She was very moved by the support she received and I think this is one of the reasons that she wanted to repay other people.

“It was always Josie's wish to help children in a similar position to her and at Christmas she went out and bought presents for every child in the cancer ward at her hospital.

“She was always smiling and always thinking of others, never of herself.”

Josie, a talented artist and champion swimmer, was diagnosed with leukaemia while her family were living in Thailand and they moved back to Corbridge in Northumberland.

But after two bone marrow transplants and aggressive anti-cancer drugs proved unsuccessful, doctors told her the cancer was terminal.

She decided to forgo further treatment to better enjoy the time she had left with her parents, Cliff and Jacqui, sister Libby, 11, and two brothers, Freddie, 13, and 11-month-old Charlie.

She spent her last days enjoying a trip on the London Eye, went up in a helicopter, had a white Christmas thanks to a snow machine, had a festive meal cooked by a professional chef and made photo books of her life with her family.

Her legacy of helping others will continue with over 3,000 people, including seven from North Elmham, wanting to buy a copy of a beautiful dragonfly pendant that she designed and was placed round her neck as she passed away.

Sales of the pendant will raise money to help children and teenagers living with cancer.

To donate money to her appeal write to The Dove Trust with the Josie Grove Leukaemia Fund, PO Box 92, Dereham. NR20 4WD or visit www.charitygiving.co.uk and follow the link to Josie's charity.

To register interest in buying a pendant visit www.josiesdragonfly.org