A FAMILY was reunited after 13 years at the weekend – at a charity event in aid of an ill family member.
Tj Colwell, seven, featured on the front-page of the Observer earlier this year after being diagnosed with the incredibly rare Niemann-Pick disease.
The genetic illness is life-shortening and there is no cure.
His dad Terry, who grew up in Chichester, cycled from his home in Basingstoke to his mum’s home in St James’ Square, Chichester in August.
On Saturday night, the Fishbourne Centre hosted rock band The Voyd, who performed a concert in aid of Tj.
Two of Tj’s great-uncles performed – it marked the first time all the family had been together since Terry’s dad Melvin passed away 13 years ago.
Tricia Parrote, Terry’s mum, said: “It’s just been a really nice get-together.
“Melvin would be over the moon to be here and see all the brothers together.”
She said Terry had especially enjoyed the evening.
“It’s the first time since his dad died that he’s been with all the Colwells again.”
It was news of Tj’s devastating diagnosis that brought them all together in Fishbourne.
“Everybody’s enjoyed it. It’s nice for me to see Terry back with his uncles,” she added.
Many other people turned up for the night, in aid of hope4tj, which aims to raise money to give Tj a chance to enjoy a lifetime of experiences in the time he has left.
Unfortunately, he was unable to be at the event, because he had just come out of hospital.
Terry said: “Everybody that’s turned up is greatly appreciated. It’s all about raising the awareness for this disease itself. There’s not many people that have heard of it, so it’s about promoting it and raising money for two good causes.”
He said he was pleased to see the family back together, but sad it was under the wrong circumstances.
“Everyone’s annoyed with themselves for drifting apart,” he said, “but it’s family that count.
“It’s been great to see my dad’s brothers and my dad’s sister. It’s like we’ve not been apart.
Organiser Ali Skipper thanked Bookers, in Chichester, for providing sausages and chips for the evening, and support band Deserved Noise.