Belfast Telegraph

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Boy who won Rory McIlroy's heart loses battle with cancer, just months after meeting golfing hero

By David Young

Published 08/04/2015

Rory McIlroy with Caleb at the opening of Daisy Lodge children’s cancer home in Newcastle
Rory McIlroy with Caleb at the opening of Daisy Lodge children’s cancer home in Newcastle

A little boy who won the heart of golfing legend Rory McIlroy has died following a long battle with cancer.

Caleb Overton (11), was at Rory's side last October when the world No 1 officially opened Daisy Lodge - a groundbreaking therapeutic centre which offers a short-break support facility for children with cancer.

A tribute to Caleb - who died last Thursday - on the website of Brooklands Primary School - which he attended - said: "Today we lost one of our brightest smiles.

"Our Caleb was a very special boy.

"He was loving, caring, always quick with a joke, always wanting to give of his very best in everything - and of course - always with that infectious smile.

"He never complained - not once.

"He was and is an inspiration to us all.

"He will be sorely missed - but never, ever forgotten."

The school also sent its condolences to the Overton family.

Big-hearted Rory McIlroy donated £1m from his charitable foundation to support the work of the Newcastle, Co Down, unit where Caleb, his Mum Sandra and his Dad Lee stayed during his illness.

The Holywood golfer said Daisy Lodge was a centre where the children and their families would be "treated like royalty".

"It is about giving back and being able to help others," he said.

At the official opening of Daisy Lodge, Rory posed for photographs with Caleb which went around the world, saying that he had been "touched" by what he learned during his visit.

"It is something I feel very strongly about," Rory said.

"Being able to see what they have built for children and their families has been fantastic.

"It's great to see what a superb job people are doing here, in trying to help people get back on their feet after being diagnosed with cancer.

"The facilities are unbelievable."

Nestled at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, Daisy Lodge provides badly-needed respite care facilities for children and their families.

The unique facility has the capacity to cater every year for 500 families who have children struggling with cancer.

Its care packages reach out to families nursing a child with cancer, to families where a parent has been diagnosed - and also to the bereaved.

Open for 365 days a year, Daisy Lodge costs £400,000 per annum to stay in business.

A memorial notice which has been placed in today's Belfast Telegraph said little Caleb "will be sadly missed by his mum, dad, brothers, sister, and all the family circle and friends".

The notice also asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice or the Children's Cancer Unit charity.

Caleb is to be cremated following a service in Roselawn Crematorium on Tuesday, April 14.

Belfast Telegraph

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