Topsham boy battles bravely through Chemo

PUBLISHED: 14:07 19 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:13 10 June 2010

STEVE Knightley with his seven-year-old Jack, who has leukaemia.

STEVE Knightley with his seven-year-old Jack, who has leukaemia.

NOT many people could match the efforts of a hard-working Topsham musician in terms of the tough daily challenges he continues to face. On one hand, Steve Knightley, 55, part of the award-winning acoustic group Show of Hands, juggles a busy schedule which involves caring for his seven-year-old son, Jack, who has leukaemia.

NOT many people could match the efforts of a hard-working Topsham musician in terms of the tough daily challenges he continues to face.

On one hand, Steve Knightley, 55, part of the award-winning acoustic group Show of Hands, juggles a busy schedule which involves caring for his seven-year-old son, Jack, who has leukaemia.

And on the other, the father of three children, whose band members are all based in the town, is also helping to write a new album.

Jack, who has a sister called Evie, five, and brother, Billy, three, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on his sixth birthday two years ago.

Steve, who expects him to make a full recovery, added: "There are no indications it won't be completely gone in a year or so.

"He is a typical seven-year-old who is full of energy and fun to be around."

A pirate party was held to celebrate the opening of a tree house for Jack last month.

The event, attended by more than 40 people, including BBC Devon's Judi Spiers, was organised through the help of Topsham Parents' group.

The tree house was bought thanks to fundraising events people from the town had organised.

Steve, whose wife Clare works as a GP, said: "Some people have done sponsored runs like the London Marathon for him. He's part of the community in Topsham. The people here are brilliant. The band also raised money on tour last year. We've done a sponsored swim and a range of other things."

Steve, speaking about his role as a parent after learning Jack was diagnosed with the condition, explained: "You just go into automatic pilot mode.You find yourself in a situation where you don't have much choice about what you do and where you have to go.

"My mother and my brother have been ill, but with your own kids the energy is naturally there. You just do what you must."

Steve said Jack, a pupil at Topsham School, had been on chemotherapy for 18 months and at the moment was coping with most things well.

"He wouldn't have met all these wonderful people he had if he hadn't have been ill. You would never wish this kind of thing to happen to someone but it has certainly made the world a more varied and interesting place for him."

Show of Hands, who sold out the Royal Albert Hall on three occasions, won the coveted best live act title at the BBC Folk Awards five years ago.

The group will play at more than 25 summer festivals this year and recently performed in Exmouth Pavilion in aid of RNLI.

Steve, who was brought up in Exmouth, said: "The band has also started recording the new record - with an aptly named title dedicated to the banking industry, which will be released in the autumn.

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