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Review of 2016: The stories that most inspired us


Aimee will see Peppa

A kind-hearted News reader ensured that three-year-old Aimee Kemsley, who’s battled a rare form of Cancer most of her life, got her Christmas wish.

Bermondsey boy Phil Burkett arranged tickets to Peppa Pig World for Aimee and her dad, after reading in the News that a trip there would be her dream come true.

Aimee was diagnosed with soft-tissue cancer Rhabdomyosarcoma on Christmas day in 2014. She is now in remission and is starting to eat and walk normally, having spent an entire year bed-bound in St George’s and Royal Marsden hospitals.

The Kemsley family are still appealing via charity Dreams Come True to pay for John and Aimee’s transport and accommodation costs during ongoing check-ups.

Aimee Kemsley
Aimee Kemsley


Grief stricken but inspired

After the tragic stillbirth of their daughter, a Dulwich couple took courage from their grief and embarked on a 2,000 mile bicycle ride from Vancouver to San Diego to raise money for stillbirth charity Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths (SANDs)

The couple raised over £12,000 for the charity, on the journey which took them along the West Coast of the US. Andy cycled, while Michelle rode in a support vehicle alongside him all the way.

The couple were moved to take the journey when they were left devastated by the death of their baby Orla in May. Within days of returning home from hospital, the couple had set up a fundraising page for SANDs.

The couple state that they received overwhelming support, with messages of encouragement and love pouring in from all over the world via social media. “We’ve been touched by the kindness of strangers,” said Michelle.

Andy and Michelle Cottle
Andy and Michelle Cottle


Splash Mob success

The Crowdfunding campaign to re-open Peckham Rye’s buried lido crossed the finish line ten days early, thanks to two big donations in two days from Southwark Council and a local businessman.

Southwark Council’s £10,000 pledge and CEO of tech firm Carrenza, Dan Sutherland’s £3,000 allowed the campaign to smash its £63, 347 target.

Chris Romer-Lee, director and co-founder of lido architects Studio Octopi, told the News: “The rollercoaster of these crowdfunding [campaigns] never ceases to amaze me. Just when there was a little glimmer of a doubt that you’re not going to make it, the unbelievable happened.”

The money will be used to draw up a business plan, new website, site surveys and expert advice. Public consultations on the design and strategy for the lido are ongoing and the next one is scheduled for January 23 at the White Horse, Peckham.

Artist's impression of the Peckham Lido by Octopi Architects
Artist’s impression of the Peckham Lido by Octopi Architects

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