Josie's dad backs our bone marrow appeal

Josie Grove's father yesterday backed The Journal's campaign to help save lives by urging people to join the bone marrow donors' register in honour of his daughter.

Josie Grove's father Cliff with Peter Finnigan

Josie Grove's father yesterday backed The Journal's campaign to help save lives by urging people to join the bone marrow donors' register in honour of his daughter.

Cliff Grove was at HMS Calliope on Gateshead's Quayside yesterday to help raise awareness of the Anthony Nolan Trust's Tyne Bridge Zip Slide, which he will be taking part in this May.

The exhilarating three-day event, billed as the best and fastest way to cross the Tyne, is expected to raise more than £70,000 for charity by inviting hundreds of daring participants to raise £150 each.

Jewellery designer Cliff, of Princes Street, Corbridge, Northumberland, also appealed for more people to sign up as a bone marrow donor following the launch of The Journal's Join for Josie campaign, which has so far seen 67 people register.

His daughter Josie, 16, died just over two weeks ago after a two-year battle with leukaemia.

Her decision to forego further cancer treatment to spend time with her family and determination to help others despite her illness touched the hearts of the nation and inspired thousands to raise more than £40,000 in her name.

Cliff, 46, said: "It really is so important to get more people signed up to the register. There are about 60 million people in this country, but there are only about 385,000 donors on the Anthony Nolan register.

"If everybody in this country was a donor the impact on children's cancer would be enormous and the chances of survival would be out of this world. It's not really a big thing to sign up and you could potentially save a life."

Anthony Nolan Trust regional fundraising manager Peter Finnigan said the charity had 150 spaces free on each day of the event and were asking people to raise a minimum of £150 for a £10 entry fee. The 400ft Zip Slide will set off from the Newcastle side of the Tyne Bridge and end at HMS Calliope on Gateshead Quayside after reaching speeds of 30mph.

Mr Finnegan said: "This is an excellent opportunity to raise the vital money needed to pay for new donors to be registered. And the register can never be big enough. The more donors we have the more lives we can save. We generated £60,000 last year and hope to raise even more in May. We're delighted Cliff has given the event his backing and delighted he will be taking part himself."

The Join for Josie campaign is highlighting just how easy it is to sign up and save a life. Josie had two failed transplants, but her family believe the second operation enabled them to spend two more years with the 16-year-old.

To sign up for the Anthony Nolan Tyne Bridge Zip Slide on May 5,6 and 7, ring (01506) 655361, text TYNE with your name, address and postcode to 07909 907209 or download an application form at


A teaspoon of blood to join

The Journal is urging readers to join the bone marrow register and become a potential lifesaver for a child like Josie Grove.

You only need to give a teaspoon of blood to join the bone marrow register. If you become a match for one of the 7,000 people who need a transplant, the procedure is then as simple as giving blood.

Donors' identities are kept anonymous, but please remember to mention The Journal's Josie Grove Appeal when asked how you found out about the number so we can record how many people are signing up in her name. Our drive for donors is another strand of the Josie Grove appeal, which has so far raised more than £20,000 for leukaemia research.

Donors must be 18-40 and weigh more than 8st/51kg.

A special email address has been set up for people to put their name on the Anthony Nolan Trust's bone marrow register in Josie's memory.

The charity will soon be holding sessions across the North-East.The email address to contact is  The donor hotline is 0901 882-2234.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer