TEARS in the eyes of Paddy Fitzpatrick as he described why he and world title contender George Groves were raising money in the Sun Inn on Saturday told the crowd all they needed to know.
George and his Irish trainer turned out at the Coate pub in aid of 20-month-old Sebastian Murtough, who is expecting a long stint in hospital after developing a rare form of cancer.
Last December, during a procedure to treat a kidney infection, doctors discovered a tumour on Sebastian’s left kidney.
Sebastian attended Great Ormond Street Hospital for a crucial operation last week and will now face chemotherapy to tackle the cancer, which affects around 70 children each year in the UK.
As Paddy spelt the situation out to the hundreds of punters packed into the pub, tears welled in his eyes as he reflected on what Sebastian’s parents must be going through.
“You must not lose sight of his parents,” he said. “This is as much for them as for Sebastian. We want to raise money for that family as a whole.
“The parents are dealing with their one-year-old having cancer. They probably haven’t had a day off in their heads for months.”
The hype ahead of George’s arrival was tangible, as fans of the fighter, who will meet world champion Carl Froch for a shot at the title on May 31, looked around anxiously as the clock ticked past the scheduled 1pm arrival.
Saint George, as he known in the boxing world, eventually arrived an hour behind schedule after a sparring session at Fitzpatrick’s Boxing Gym in Ferndale Road.
When order was eventually brought to the crowd inside the pub a line of autograph hunters and photo opportunists queued to donate for their moment with the contender.
“The more successful I become the bigger a duty I have to try and help as many people as I can,” said George.
“I would rather help an individual than a corporation. Plenty of people are raising money for these big companies like Cancer Research UK, but I think more can be done for families.
“If this little boy and his family need help and money to better their lives then I want to do what I can.
“It’s important to me that I can see the person I am helping and see the difference it is making to their lives directly, rather than any help being lost among the rest of the donations to a big corporation.”
There are more fundraising ideas expected between now and April 4, when Paddy will host a boxing show at the Oasis, a night on which he hopes to call on George once again to pull in the punters.
The efforts of Paddy and George were not lost on Sebastian’s father, Steve, who also attended Saturday’s fundraiser.
“I have known Paddy for a couple of years, but I had no idea he was going to stretch to something like this for us,” said Steve.
“The emotions are indescribable for what George and Paddy are doing. I already have photos of myself and Sebastian with George. When he grows up he will be proud of what George and Paddy did.”