THEY SAY families pull together in times of adversity, and one family from Caerleon have been a shining example of doing just that, with their youngest member leading the way.

Eight-year-old Jack Beech loves sports, particularly rugby, which he played for Caerleon rugby club.

But in March he started to suffer from fever like symptoms. He went to his doctor and was given antibiotics, and told to come back if it didn't clear up, which it didn't.

It was then Jack was referred to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital and everything changed.

"He was given an echocardiogram and from there everything just snowballed for the next 24 hours," Jack's dad, Kevin Beech said.

Jack was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).

"It was a very traumatic time for the whole family," says mum Lisa Watkins.

It has since been a whirlwind of treatment, and trips to the University Hospital in Cardiff for the family which could've proved difficult their younger son Dylan, 3, to understand.

But Ms Watkins, said: "Dylan knows that Jack has to go to hospital to get better, so he is aware he's ill.

"He heard his cousin Christopher, who's 19, talking about how he would like to do something to raise money for people who have supported Jack and decided he wanted to do something too."

So Dylan's auntie, Nelly Beech, organised a charity walk around Roath Park in Cardiff for the toddler in June, where he raised £800.

His Grandmother, Gwyneth Beech, from Newport, was so proud of Dylan's efforts she has nominated him for the Night of Honour awards.

She said: " I think for a little one what heÕs done is amazing and very caring."

The family split the money raised with £500 going to Latch, the charity who provided them with accommodation at the hospital as well as the play assistants who help take Jack's mind off his illness when he's at the University Hospital of Wales.

They then bought £150 worth of craft materials for the Sky ward at the hospital with another £150 worth of goodies coming for Christmas.

The family said they couldn't thank both Latch and the University Hospital of Wales enough and wanted to give something back.

Jack said although his brother was sometimes annoying he was impressed with his walk.

Jack, said: " All the nurses, doctors and the play assistants are all really nice so we wanted to say thank you."

Doctors are pleased with Jack's progress and now he has his sights set on what he wants to do when he's well enough.

"I met George North (Latch ambassador and Welsh international winger), he was really nice, and I would love to play for Wales with him one day."


NOMINATIONS for Night of Honour closed yesterday. Winners will be selected by a panel involving members of the community such as police officers, businessmen and public servants.


The categories are: Neighbour of the Year; Young Person of the Year; Above and Beyond Award, for someone who has gone that extra mile; Parent of the Year; Public Service Superhero; Community Organisation of the Year; and Volunteer of the Year.

All nominees are being invited to an awards evening at the King's Church in Newport on September 23.