Press reports – 2003
IT’S A KIND OF MAGIC AS BRIAN STEPS IN AS PATRON
The Sentinel [Stoke]
by DIANNE BOURNE
Tue 13 May 2003
A Rock legend has pledged his support to a charity set up by a woman in honour of her young son who lost his brave fight against a brain tumour. The Queen guitarist Brian May is to become patron of the Connor Ruscoe Memorial Fund in honour of eight-year-old Connor who died last year.
Viv Ruscoe set up the charity as the Connor Ruscoe Trust when her beloved son was first diagnosed with the brain tumour in March last year.
He died just five months later – but his mother vowed to ensure something positive emerged from his tragic death. Now Viv, of Elton Road, Sandbach is hoping fund-raising will go from strength to strength with rock legend May onside.
She said: “We couldn’t believe it when Brian agreed to be patron.”
Viv said the world-famous guitarist had been the most appropriate choice after Connor became interested in Queen’s music – and Brian May himself took an interest in how Connor was getting on.
It was all down to a network of Viv’s friends, all with interests in Queen, that meant there was a connection with the rock group throughout Connor’s illness.
Viv said: “Connor used to go to a friend of mine, Mick Hoole’s house every morning to catch the school bus.
“Mick is a huge Queen fan so every morning Connor would listen to Queen and was on his way to becoming a big Queen fan himself.
“One of Mick’s friends, Jen Tunney, ran the official Brian May website, and kept Brian informed of Connor’s progress.
“I was amazed when Brian contacted me and wanted to know if he could help in any way.
“He therefore seemed the most appropriate person to become the patron. For a man who is always so busy, he’s done a tremendous amount already.”
When Connor was first diagnosed with the inoperable brain tumour, family and friends immediately set about fundraising to help him enjoy the remaining years of his life.
But by August the tumour had become malignant, and on August 21 the youngster died peacefully in hospital.
Viv, who has two other children, Taylor, aged six and Maddigan, aged four, decided that something positive had to come from Connor’s death, and decided to make the charity bigger and better.
The charity now has a new target – to raise £20,000 for a new ventilator for the Walton Centre in Liverpool, where Connor spent his final days.
The charity has already raised an amazing £15,000, which has gone toward new equipment for the hospital, and a memorial at Connor’s school, St Gabriel’s Primary School in Alsager.
Viv said: “The word I would use to describe Connor is incredible. He never complained about his illness and his acceptance was complete.”
The next fundraising event for the charity will be a football tournament in Sandbach on June 14.
Anyone who wishes to help with the charity can contact Viv by e-mail: email@example.com, or Mick Hoole on 01270 753734.
Ed: Web site is http://www.queenrocks.co.uk/4connor.html – no longer operative
QUEEN ROCK STAR TO BACK CONNOR FUND
By Mike Hornby Daily Post Staff
Tue 13 May 03
VETERAN rock star Brian May has thrown his weight behind a charity fund in memory of a Cheshire schoolboy. Connor Ruscoe died in August last year after suffering an inoperable brain tumour. He was just eight years old. Connor’s parents, Viv and Robert, initially launched the Connor Ruscoe Fund to raise money to enable him to travel wherever necessary for treatment.
After he died they decided to continue the appeal and collect money for the children’s ward at Liverpool’s Walton Neurological Centre and for a memorial at his school, St Gabriel’s in Alsager.
But the couple, who live in Sandbach, have been so over-whelmed with support from the local community that the fund is set to continue raising money for other children like Connor.
Legendary Queen guitarist May has agreed to be patron of the appeal.
The musician heard about Connor through his fan club and donated a signed first edition copy of one his singles, If We Believe, a duet with Lynne Carey Saylor, which was auctioned for the memorial fund.
Viv, 37, said: “Connor was a massive fan of Queen and before he died we organised a concert by the tribute band Queen Rocks which raised £6,000.
“Brian got to hear about Connor through his fan club and kindly helped us raise money by donating the CD.
“He also sent us a very touching personal note when Connor died.”
The Connor Ruscoe Memorial Trust has already donated £6,000 to the Walton Centre which will be used to buy specially adapted weighing scales and a ball pool where the youngsters can play.
Now Mr and Mrs Ruscoe, who have two other children, Taylor, six, and Maddigan, four, want to continue the fund and help other children like Connor and their siblings.
Viv said: “We wanted to do more because Connor was a special boy and the memorial fund is a wonderful way for us to celebrate his life.”
“It was suggested we ask Brian, though I never expected that he would wish to be involved. But he said he would be proud to be patron of the fund.”
“We hope that Connor’s fund, with help from Brian, will help families going through the most difficult of times.”
A spokeswoman for Mr May said: “Connor was a very special little boy and our hearts go out to all who cared for him.
“Brian hopes to meet the family in the near future to talk about Connor and how he can help the Trust in his name.”