Ian Wright visits St Albans cancer-battler Bailey
PUBLISHED: 18:30 26 March 2012
ARSENAL and England legend Ian Wright has paid a surprise visit to a St Albans boy who is fighting a rare, aggressive cancer for the second time.
Bailey Sarwa, a Year 8 pupil at Marlborough School, was stunned to have the former footballer turned television and radio personality in his lounge, sharing a cuppa with family members.
Ian visited the 12 year old last Thursday following an invitation from Joseph Singh and Mary Gill of The Karen Trust, which has donated Bailey money towards a much-needed holiday. Joseph founded the charity as his late sister Karen wanted to help others fighting cancer, and Ian is her daughter’s godfather.
The football pundit and Bailey hit it off immediately with Ian, who stopped playing professional football in 2000, quickly shortening the staunch Arsenal supporter’s name to “B”.
When told that he had been the most entertaining Arsenal footballer, Ian replied that while he had had fun playing the sport, he now enjoyed being paid to talk.
He went on: “I have been fortunate enough to play football. I don’t really miss it because I can watch it objectively now, because I have to speak as a pundit, and I have to watch it neutrally”.
Bailey gave him a wristband and cup bearing his motto “I will know no fear” and candles he has designed with Potters Crouch Candles.
Ian told the boy that the berry blast fragrance from the candles, being sold to help raise funds for Bailey’s cancer treatment overseas, “smells gorgeous, I love that.”
Bailey’s mum, Becki Jones, told Ian he looked “reem [gorgeous]” wearing the wristband, which prompted a long discussion about the highs and lows of ITV show The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE).
They talked about TOWIE star Joey Essex’s orange Uggs, with Ian admitting he found the show “ridiculously entertaining” along with My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
He added: “I try to stay away from it but it’s really addictive.”
Ian, 48, said afterwards: “It was a humbling experience. Everybody was so wonderful. Bailey is a cool kind of guy.”
A thrilled Bailey said “It was really good meeting Ian. It’s not something you get to do every day.
“It was really surprising, because I didn’t know we would have an Arsenal legend having a cup of tea at my table.”
Funds are urgently needed to pay for Bailey’s overseas antibody treatment to fight neuroblastoma, a rare cancer which affects nerve cells.
With Bailey a proud Gunner, Barkers Estate and Letting Agents are auctioning an Arsenal shirt for the Bailey Sarwa Appeal. Estate agent Sophie Hillier, a former Marlborough School pupil, explained: “We rent a few properties out to Arsenal players and they train down the road from our London Colney branch, so we managed to get a shirt signed by the whole team to auction off.”
To bid for the shirt go to eBay, reference number 320869518901.
n Organisers of a combined shopping and activity event at Marlborough School last Saturday, March 17, were thrilled at raising over £1,800 for the appeal. To donate go to www.bmycharity.com/BaileySarwaAppeal