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Fundraising Spixworth family raise £50,000 and meet PM's wife at 10, Downing Street

Sam Rowlands meets Samantha Cameron: Photography credit:   Zoe Norfolk

Sam Rowlands meets Samantha Cameron: Photography credit: Zoe Norfolk

Archant

A 12-year-old boy and his parents were invited to meet the PM's wife Samantha Cameron at 10, Downing Street after the total they raised for charity smashed through the £50,000 barrier.

The Rowlands family, comprising Paul, Miranda and son Sam, 12, from Spixworth, started raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities after the death of baby Alice Rowlands in 2007.

RMHC provides accommodation for families whose loved ones are in hospital miles from home, and the family stayed for two weeks at a Ronald McDonald House in London to be near Alice, who was receiving treatment for acute liver failure at nearby King’s College Hospital.

Sadly, Alice died when she was just 15 days old, but the family pledged to raise money for the charity in her name and set up the Alice Rowlands Memorial Society.

The total raised has now exceeded £50,000 and the family was invited to a charity reception last week and the chance to meet Mrs Cameron at 10, Downing Street, to celebrate the charity’s work.

Sam Rowlands, who goes to Sprowston High School, said: “It was great in 2007 that we were all able to stay together at the Ronald McDonald House, right next to the hospital.

“The House meant we could visit Alice whenever we wanted to and when Alice was 10 days old I was allowed to hold her, which was very special.

“After she died, we wanted to raise money for families like us, so we’ve been supporting the charity ever since. I’m glad their work was recognised at this important event.”

As part of the fundraising campaign, Sam, has sold some of his cherished toys, written to celebrities to request items for auction and helped organise gala dinners.

He said it was amazing to visit 10, Downing Street and meet Mrs Cameron.

“She seemed a really down-to-earth person, really grounded,” he said. “I told her about what we do and about the things we have been doing and what we have organised, like the gala dinner and selling some of my toys.

“I didn’t really know what to take in and I really don’t know what to expect but it was really, really amazing. We were shown some of the rooms so we sort of knew all about them. There were some original Turner paintings which were pretty amazing.

“I thought it was quite amazing that I was there.”

Sam’s mother Miranda, who is a teacher at Kinsale Junior School in Hellesdon, added: “We work as a fundraising team and call ourselves, Team Rowlands.

“Sam takes part in all our initiatives and wears a tuxedo when we have gala charity dinners. When his dad, Paul carried the Olympic Torch last year, Sam took the torch into his school, to raise awareness of the charity.”

She added: “10, Downing Street is very grand, really amazing. I was really impressed by the artwork on display. I saw some Bridget Rileys and Turner paintings. Paul, Sam and myself were in a room with two people from the charity when Mrs Cameron came in.

“She told us that she had been reading all about us. She was really enthusiastic. She wanted to hear about Paul’s recent fire walk for charity, and she shook hands with Sam.”

RMHC looks after more than 6,000 families each year.

Jon Haward, Director of RMHC, said: “The reception was a fantastic event which recognised Ronald McDonald House Charities’ work in supporting families with children in hospital in the UK and we were glad the Rowlands’ family could join us for this special occasion. Sam Rowlands is a remarkable young man and we greatly appreciate the astonishing amount of money that he has raised to help other families with children in hospital across the UK.”

Have you met someone famous thanks to your fundraising work? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772427.

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