Football fans show amazing support for Jack and Denver during World Cup matches

Denver Clinton. Picture: OLIVIA WHITTLE

Denver Clinton. Picture: OLIVIA WHITTLE - Credit: Archant

This year's world cup has seen football fans from across the country show their support in full force.

Jack Smith. Picture: LAUREN SMITH

Jack Smith. Picture: LAUREN SMITH - Credit: Archant

And at a mid-Norfolk pub, whose grandstand has attracted international media attention, patriotism is flying the flag in its local community too.

The Railway Tavern in Dereham has been a hub of activity since the world cup began last month and its grandstand has seen hundreds turn out to watch the matches.

But punters have also been digging deep into their pockets to help raise thousands for two special children.

Organised by landlord Paul Sandford, funds for the family of a baby boy newly diagnosed with a genetic condition were raised through sales of tickets for last night's England world cup semi-finals.

The clash with Croatia on Wednesday saw an overwhelming response from pub-goers to help three-month-old Jack Smith.

Mr Sandford said Jack's mum Lauren, who is part of the bar team, had recently found out her son has spinal muscular atrophy. The condition makes the muscles weaker and causes problems with movement. The diagnosis also means that Jack's life expectancy is shortened.

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'Life is so, so cruel sometimes,' Mr Sandford said.

Last week, donations during the England vs Sweden match went towards another young person from Mattishall, near to the market town.

A suggested minimum donation of £2 saw thousands raised to help three-year-old Denver Clinton, who suffers from a rare form of cancer.

In May 2018, after a series of visits to the doctor with stomach pain, a mass was found. The cancer had spread to his lungs and he was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma.

Mum, Wanda Clinton, said: 'I take great comfort in watching Denver's pure resilience and he amazes me every day.

'Although he's clearly in pain and discomfort, he can still smile and melt my heart. We have to go on, fight and be strong. I don't know what the future holds for Denver, but he has an army behind him.'

Around £4,000 has been raised for the pair so far.

Mr Sandford added: 'It's overwhelming, the whole thing.

'The generosity of Dereham people never fails to amaze me.'

To donate to Solving Kids' Cancer or to find out more about Denver's story visit