Rival families in step ahead of derby clash

Emma Doherty with her son Bobby, and Michelle Travis and her son James
Emma Doherty with her son Bobby, and Michelle Travis and her son James

A rugby-mad family is certainly going the extra mile to get to Wigan Warriors’ match against Saints tomorrow.

Friends and relatives of poorly toddler Bobby Baldwin will be walking to the game - all the way from their opponents’ Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens.

Bobby Baldwin with parents John Baldwin and Emma Doherty

Bobby Baldwin with parents John Baldwin and Emma Doherty

Bobby has a serious heart condition and they are pounding the pavements to raise money for two good causes in his honour.

Money will be given to cardiac research surgery for children and Ronald McDonald House, which provided accommodation for Bobby’s family while he was being treated in hospital.

The tot has three holes in his heart and was born with major aortapulmonary collateral arteries, which means blood cannot pump around his body.

He has already had several major surgeries, with the first at just six weeks old on his heart, diaphragm and stomach.

He is due to have another procedure later this month as doctors try to widen his arteries.

Bobby’s parents Emma Doherty and John Baldwin, who live in Worsley Mesnes, are organising the walk with friends Michelle and Terry Travis, from St Helens.

They met at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, when their son James was being treated alongside Bobby.

James was born a few weeks after Bobby with his heart on the wrong side of his chest and the wrong way round, a large hole in his heart and other health problems.

Their parents became good friends at the hospital, bonding over their children as well as their rival rugby league clubs.

While Emma and John support Wigan, Michelle and Terry are St Helens fans.

And they decided to base their fund-raising walk around rugby by walking between the two stadiums on the day of the big match.

Dozens of people will set off from the Totally Wicked Stadium at 8am, including Bobby and James, who are both one.

The walk will take around three hours to complete and they are aiming to arrive at Wigan’s DW Stadium in time for the 12.15pm kick-off for the match.

The walkers are being sponsored and will collect donations along the way to boost their fund-raising total.

They are also holding a raffle, with a host of prizes donated by local businesses.

Around £600 has been donated so far and people can give online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teambobbyteamjames.

People are still being encouraged to join the fund-raising walk to show their support for Bobby and James, as well as to collect donations along the way.

To find out more about the walk and to follow Bobby’s progress, go to the Bobby’s Bravery page on Facebook.