Belfast Telegraph

DJ Gary 'Gaz' Neville accused of cheating 'wee Oscar' cancer appeal of £930

By Joanne Fleming

This is the entertainer accused of cheating the Oscar Knox Appeal out of nearly a thousand pounds.

Lisburn DJ and promoter Gary 'Gaz' Neville (33) is due in court this month accused of failing to hand over the cash he raised in October last year.

The showbiz charity event raised £930 for the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance Oscar Knox Appeal.

It's alleged that the money was never handed over by Neville to the appeal, which raised a total this year of more than £600,000.

Now promoter Neville is due to appear at Lisburn Magistrates Court later this month accused of fraud. No one else involved in the concert is accused of any wrongdoing.

Brave Oscar Knox, known affectionately as 'Wee Oscar,' died in May at the age of five following a two-and-a-half-year battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, neuroblastoma.

His plucky personality captured the hearts of the public in Northern Ireland and beyond and the Oscar Knox Appeal was set up by his parents Stephen and Leona in 2012 to pay for the little Glengormley boy's medical bills. In October 2012 Oscar received specialist treatment in America after his family reached their £25,000 fundraising target. He was finally given the all-clear in April 2013, but the cancer later returned and he lost his battle against the disease in May.

Neville organised the fundraising night through his company GN Entertainment with local acts and performers at Hague's Bar in Lisburn.

The £10-a-ticket event featured Robbie Williams and Katy Perry tribute acts as well as other local musicians.

In a promotional interview, Neville told Lisburn 98.8FM radio station why he was raising funds for Wee Oscar. "The fact that the boy is so young and that he has dealt with the cancer already and to be told six months later that it's back again, it sort of tugs at the old heart strings, you feel you want to give something back," he said.

The performers waived their fee for the night and Hague's Bar did not charge for the use of their lounge. Neville organised a second fundraising night in August this year for the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice, where Oscar spent his last weeks. There is no allegation of any fraud relating to this event.

Background

The Oscar Knox Appeal quickly captured the hearts of the public in Northern Ireland. Its Twitter account became a phenomenon in June 2012 after a group of Irish football fans posed for pictures in Dublin airport before heading off to the European football championship with a flag saying "Angela Merkel thinks we're at work".

Oscar - who had been allowed to stay up late to watch the matches - and his father Stephen made their own flag saying: "My ma thinks I'll be in bed early" and then tweeted a picture of it.

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