Candy Floss Kid inspires climb quest

Kira Radcliffe pictured on Scafell Pike and, below, with her parents Bev and Mark (S)
Kira Radcliffe pictured on Scafell Pike and, below, with her parents Bev and Mark (S)
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A brave Knaresborough schoolgirl who battled fatal brain cancer has inspired her family and friends to fundraising challenges in her memory.

Kira Radcliffe, who was a pupil at Knaresborough’s Aspin Park Primary School, died aged just 10 -years- old after an eight month battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme – an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Now Harrogate businessman and family friend Steven Partner is setting out to climb England’s highest mountain Scafell Pike alongside Kira’s dad Mark Radcliffe and her maternal grandmother Irene Jessop, and he wants to use the challenge to raise money for a charity which helped them through the difficult times.

Kira was born in Harrogate in 2001, and went to primary school at Aspin Park, Knaresborough until she and her parents Bev Jessop and Mark Radcliffe moved to Birmingham in July 2011.

Just two months later she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme and on May 25 2012 Kira passed away.

Mum Bev said: “Kira was a funny, beautiful, kind hearted and bright young girl who was on the gifted register for English and art at her school.

“Kira was a huge fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, cats, was a great artist and a girl who loved playing with her school friends. Kira was affectionately known as Bubba by her family and as Kiwi to her Aspin friends.”

The young girl showed remarkable courage during her gruelling illness, and Bev has paid tribute to her brave daughter.

“Kira had lost virtually all of her sight and hair because of the cancer but throughout all this Kira managed to summon up phenomenal strength and courage to deal with the knowledge that she was soon going to die. Kira even managed to create her own brief farewell video so that everyone could remember her in a happy humorous way. Kira was child with maturity and diplomacy way beyond her years and is truly missed by her mum, dad, family and friends. In fact, everyone who had the good fortune to cross paths with Kira during her short life is now sadder because of her passing but know that they have had their lives enriched through knowing her and being a part of her life,” she added.

Scafell Pike was a favourite spot of Kira’s – she climbed it at just nine years old and ashes are scattered there at her own request so for Steven, the Scafell challenge is a chance to pay tribute to her in a place she loved.

He said: “I remember very well when Kira was born. She was only a little bit older than my own son, who is 10 now.

“She was a very bubbly little girl, and she was on the gifted register at her school at Aspin Park in Knaresborough.

“When she was poorly she was very brave about it. Before she died she made a video for her friends and family to remind them of her because she knew she would not be around for much longer. She was a very very plucky little girl.”

But, as he is not a regular walker, conquering the mountain will be no mean feat.

He said: “I have never done anything like this before. I am not a regular walker at all. The most I will do normally is go for a walk with the dog on The Stray, so this is quite a big challenge for me.

“I am looking forward to it very much.”

After Kira was diagnosed the charity Clic Sargent – which works with children who have cancer and their families – helped her by organising holidays when she was not well enough to go abroad, with home tuition during her treatment, and has supported her parents Mark Radcliffe and Bev Jessop.

When Mark first asked Steve to climb Scafell Pike they had not thought of asking for sponsorship, but once Steve learnt how much the charity had done for his friends and their little girl, he decided to try to raise money for the charity. The team of three are preparing for the walk on April 11 – supported by Kira’s mum Bev and Steve’s own wife Joanne.

Next year Mark will push the fundraising even further when he tackles the “Iceman” polar challenge event which will see him tackle challenges from nordic and alpine ski touring, sled/ hauling, mountaineering, iceberg climbing, snow holing and igloo building, all in extreme sub-zero temperatures to raise money for Clic Sargent as well as Macmillan Cancer Support and Help for Heroes.

And Bev has written a book called “Candy Floss Head” – the name Kira gave her illness – chronciling her experiences while her daughter struggled with the disease.

To support Steve’s fundraising bid online go to www.justgiving.com/steve-partner or to support Mark’s Iceman challenge go to www.kirabubba.com.