Brave Overton schoolboy Reece Holt passes away

Overton schoolboy Reece Holt has passed away today, Friday January 18.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 2:39 pm
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 2:45 pm
Reece Holt
Reece Holt

Reece, 13, had been battling Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a malignant tumour that affects only about 10 children a year, since May 2016.

The Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil announced his brain cancer was terminal on his Team Reece charity’s Facebook page in February last year.

Reece Holt with his dad Chris.

Since then his family had been working to find ways to control his seizures, which had been occurring almost daily.

But in the last few days, Reece’s family had posted on his charity page on Facebook that his health had taken a downward turn, and he was being cared for in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

A message on his charity’s Facebook page this afternoon said: “Our bravest warrior Reece left us at 11.30am this morning while being cuddled by mum and surrounded by his family.

“He fought valiantly to the last!

Reece Holt, from Overton, pictured in his Lancaster Royal Grammar School uniform.

“He’s with his grandad now and the world will be a slightly duller place without his beautiful smile.

“Reece is also able to donate his beautiful blue eyes to help another and we will continue to fight on to ensure other children get a chance to grow up.”

Following the terminal diagnosis, Reece and his family continued to work hard for their charity, which helps children with cancer and their families as well as helping to provide funding for vital research for brain cancer in children.

He was awarded a Visitor Sunshine Award in 2017 as an acknowledgement of all the work he had done for charity.

Rachel O'Neil and son Reece Holt.

Former Visitor reporter Gemma Sherlock met Reece several times during her time at the newspaper.

She said: “From the moment I met Reece he stole my heart. The brave, courageous and determined young boy was shy at first but after many interviews following his battle with cancer he opened up, his dedication to help others and not worry about himself was to be admired.

“The work he did setting up his own charity was mind blowing but not only that, his smile, his beautiful smile in the face of the unknown and terrifying journey ahead was completely and wholeheartedly inspirational.

“I will forever remember giving Reece a hug when he won one of our newspaper awards, shedding a tear to see his hard work and brave fight be recognised.

Reece Holt on Beyond Radio in Lancaster. Photo by Mike Jackson.

“I will remember the relationship I built with Reece, his family and his strong mum, Rachel.

“But most importantly I will remember Reece’s legacy, Team Reece, which will continue to help children in their fight against cancer.”

Reece Holt.