Louis’s mum asks for appeal help

Louis Simpson
Louis Simpson

The mother of a teenager who died in a barn fire is urging well-wishers to donate to a friend’s cancer charity appeal so that “some good might come from this tragic event.”

Vanessa Anders took to social media to thank people for their words of sympathy and consolation but also ask that they come to the aid of her friend Kate Anne Douglas who is raising money in the hope of undergoing pioneering treatment in Germany.

We would very much like some good to come from this tragic event

Vanessa Anders

She said that her 14-year-old - whose body was found by firefighters after the January 29 blaze at a farm building at Fairhurst Hall, Parbold - was a kind boy and helping others would be what he would have wanted.

A funeral was held for Louis Simpson on Friday and a huge shrine has built up on Chorley Road as mourners paid personal tribute.

Among the flowers was a signed souvenir European Champions League 2005 T-shirt from the family of Liverpool FC legend Jamie Carragher who are friends of Louis’s own family.

Investigations are still continuing into the cause of the barn blaze in which Louis and three young friends were caught up in that Sunday afternoon.

It was not entirely clear whether Louis was still inside after his friends escaped and a police appeal was made to the public to trace his whereabouts.

But the fatality was confirmed the following day. An inquest has yet to open into his death.

Louis’s school, Merchant Taylors’ in Liverpool, opened a book of condolence and a poignant video tribute, which has attracted thousands of views, was posted on YouTube by grieving friends and schoolmates.

Set to the music of Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars, the video - entitled In Memory of Louis Simpson, loved by all - shows the youngsters with friends and stars including Wigan Warriors’ Sam Tomkins, Liverpool FC’s Steven Gerrard and film-star Will Ferrell.

But his family have also been thinking of 38-year-old Worsley mum Kate’s plight.

Vanessa wrote on Facebook: “We would like to thank everybody for their kind messages. Andrew Simpson, Rebecca Simpson, Dan Anders and myself are so very grateful to you all.

“However we have too many flowers, for which we are eternally grateful, we would very much like some good to come from this tragic event.

“As such we would ask that if anybody would like to contribute to the memory of our beautiful boy Louis, that they donate to our amazing friend Kate Anne Douglas.

“We would like you to leave a message underneath your donation, in order that we can see your lovely messages and respond to you all.

“Louis was such a kind boy and was always so very worried about Kate, we really think he would have wanted this.

“Thanks once again to you all for all the love and support you have shown to us, and Louis, it means the world to us all, Please share.”

Friend Karen Baker said: “So many people have responded to the generosity that Vanessa has shown.

“In the tragic loss of her beautiful son Louis, she has had the strength of character to support a friend in her terrible cancer battle.

“The village have united in their grief for their loss of Louis to try and make the best for Kate Anne and I would urge anyone who hasn’t already (and so many have) to make a contribution.”

Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer just two weeks after giving birth and is fund-raising for chemotherapy in Germany after British doctors said they could do no more after it returned in her bones, liver and lungs. She needs £250,000.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Mr Carragher, now a Sky Sports pundit, posted on social media: “Absolutely devastated as a family about the news about Louis, remember a cracking footballer for the school, holidaying with the family in Ibiza and staying over for his and James’s birthday.

“Most of all a great kid. R.I.P son you’ll never be forgotten.”

Her page on the gofundme website has received a major boost since Vanessa made her appeal.