Owen and Andy Farrell visit Harpenden school for charity presentation

12:00 24 January 2016

Andy and Owen Farrell receive a cheque from Aldwickbury School headmaster Vernon Hales and year 8 pupils Jack Beighton and Tim Davies on behalf of the charity Joining Jack

Andy and Owen Farrell receive a cheque from Aldwickbury School headmaster Vernon Hales and year 8 pupils Jack Beighton and Tim Davies on behalf of the charity Joining Jack


England rugby star Owen Farrell and his father Andy made a visit to a Harpenden school – after the school chose a charity close to their hearts.

Pupils at Aldwickbury School, in Wheathampstead Road, decided to raise money for Joining Jack, a charity designed to help research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

It was set up by Andy Johnson, a former team-mate of Andy Farrell’s at Wigan Warriors, after his son Jack was diagnosed with the disease, which is currently a terminal and incurable muscle-wasting disease.

Most patients are confined to a wheelchair by 12, with paralysis and breathing difficulties requiring ventilation following.

The Farrell’s soon became ambassadors for the campaign and Owen’s salute every time he kicks a penalty brought the charity to the attention of the school.

And at the school bazaar in November they managed to raise £5,319.29, which was presented to the Farrell’s at an assembly on Friday.

Headmaster Vernon Hales said: “The best bit is the boys chose it. They nominated it, discussed it in their classes and then voted on it.

“It’s one that obviously touched them. It’s one that affects mainly boys and was set up for a little boy who is about their age.

“The bazaar is a very special day. It’s the whole school community, boys from four to 13, all the mums and dads involved behind the scenes to make it happen.

“It’s nice to have a couple of people that the boys relate to come in and present the cheque.

“It was a great day in November and that was a special assembly.”

Andy Farrell spoke of Jack as a “cheeky young boy who loves to run around” and was delighted to accept the cheque.

He said: “Owen’s a big ambassador of the charity, making the sign when he kicks a goal and for that to be recognised by one of the young boys, Ben Morrow, is fantastic.”

“Coming to collect the cheque on Joining Jack’s behalf is a privilege to us.

“DMD is a disease we haven’t got a cure for but we’re getting close. We’re making great strides but we need as much exposure as we possibly can.

“Every single penny gets put in the right places to get the cure.

“We’re getting there, we have to get there. And we’ll do it for Jack.”

Owen Farrell was clearly touched that his gesture had captured the attention at Aldwickbury.

He said: “It’s good that people are realising and the only reason I do it is to raise awareness.

“And for a school like this to get behind it like they have shows that it is doing some good so that’s brilliant for me.

“To raise money like they have done is massive and it’s exactly what the charity needs.”

For more information on the charity, visit www.joiningjack.org


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Herts Advertiser visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Herts Advertiser staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Herts Advertiser account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 21:00
Rennie Grove Moonlight Walk

Around 200 women and just 17 men took part in the inaugural 10-mile Moonlight Walk for Rennie Grove Hospice Care on Saturday night.

Yesterday, 18:00
Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams is taking part in a firewalk at Batchwood Hall to raise funds for Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.

Herts Ad editor Matt Adams will be hotfooting it to Club Batchwood to help raise funds for a local cancer centre.

Yesterday, 12:00
Benjamin Bunny is the latest addition to the farm and will be putting on a show at the festival.

Pumpkin picking, a carving competition and animal feeding will be on offer at an activity-filled festival.

Yesterday, 06:00
More than 50 pupils took part, raising a total of £3,121 to be shared between three charities.

Busking, baking and bike rides were on the agenda for students as they raised more than £3,000 for charity.

Save a trip to your local GP with the free prescription service at Avicenna Pharmacy

Avicenna in St Albans offers a FREE repeat prescription collection and delivery service.


Could there be a Beast of Hertfordshire? Residents have reported seeing a panther (file photo) in Harpenden and Hitchin

Reports of recent panther sightings in the St Albans district have been reinforced by the founder of a big cat sanctuary, who said a puma has also been seen roaming near this area.

Digital Edition

Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

St Albans Sinkhole News

Friday, October 7, 2016
David Walker lives near the sinkhole in Fontmell Close, St Albans. This photo was taken after most of the cavity was filled with special concrete to plug it.

The Herts Advertiser has been visiting residents in St Albans to see how they have been coping one year after the sinkhole appeared in Fontmell Close on October 1, 2015, in a series of articles to mark the first anniversary of the collapse.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read stories

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards