William’s Story

This is William Ford-Ward’s story, as told by his mum, Jackie.

“My daughter Alice was 7 years old, and in year 2 at Combs School, when my younger son William was diagnosed with Leukaemia. As you can imagine, our lives fell apart. William and I spent weeks in Manchester Children’s Hospital, while he underwent chemotherapy from February to December 2003.

“Our focus was on William. It was an extremely difficult time for Alice, with her mum, dad and brother in and out of hospital. But thanks to the support and understanding of the school, she found it easier to get through.

“Most parents we met at hospital weren’t able to send their children to school while they were receiving treatment: these children had private tuition at home. One of the consultants treating William encouraged us to keep his life as normal as possible, and this included him going to school. We were fortunate: William was able to go into the reception class at Combs School, as apprehensive as we were about some of the problems he would face – infections, loss of hair, and weight gain. He settled immediately and became just one of the children, forgetting about his problems. The teachers helped William to get back on track with his education and the other children restored his confidence and let him know that his treatment wasn’t his whole life.

“Will has missed many days schooling over the past three years, but thanks to the teachers he has never fallen behind in his learning. He is now into the last of his five years of checkups, and everything is going well for him."

William is pictured receiving his Young Achievers Award from Councillor Burrows

“I believe we are fortunate to live in this small community. People know who their neighbours are here, and there is a tremendous community spirit. My husband’s family has farmed here for the past sixty years. He went to Combs School, as did his two sisters.

My two children have had a wonderful education there, and I hope that my third child, expected in October this year, will be attending this same amazing small school in the heart of this wonderful village.”