Teams pull together for family’s charity

PJ's family are pictured with Mark Bradley and Neil Lennon.
PJ's family are pictured with Mark Bradley and Neil Lennon.

Rival football fans joined forces recently to raise money in memory of a Linlithgow boy who died last year from a rare medical condition.

Paul James Cockburn, known as PJ, was just 12 when he died of organ failure as a result of the condition known as Short Bowel Syndrome.

The PJ Foundation has since been set up in his memory to raise funds for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) to help to transform the lives of young people undergoing treatment.

PJ spent long periods at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children while he was undergoing treatment. Following a sudden deterioration in health in early 2017, his family was told that he would need a quadruple transplant to receive a new liver and an extra kidney, and to enhance his bowel and pancreas.

Despite the doctors’ best efforts, PJ’s condition did not improve and he passed away surrounded by family, friends and a new dog he had always dreamed of.

A pre-season friendly match between Hibernian and Linlithgow Rose is the latest event for the foundation which has helped raise £430, with PJ’s sister, Aimee, 15, acting as the Hibs mascot on the day.

Since October last year its continuing activities have raised £8000. Linlithgow Primary School, which PJ attended, also raised more than £500 in 1p and 2p coins, while the local Beaver Scouts gathered £142 by filling Smarties tubes with 20p coins.

Jill Cockburn, PJ’s mother, said that the match day was a big milestone for the foundation.

She continued: “It was filled with a positive atmosphere and Aimee was delighted to mascot the Hibs team, especially as she plays for their under 19s women’s team. We will always be grateful to ECHC for always putting a smile on our boy’s face and filling his long stays at the hospital with fun. He was so fond of everyone there and made lots of good memories.

“Having a big banner with a photo of PJ on a football pitch was a proud moment to the foundation and our family.”

Sue Diamond, ECHC community fund-raising manager, said: “The support that the PJ Foundation provides is invaluable and epitomises the spirit and joy PJ brought into the lives of so many.”

Further information about the PJ Foundation can be found on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PJFoundation1310

Details about Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, can be found at www.echcharity.org.