Belfast Telegraph

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling pays tribute to Finn after NI boy’s sad passing

By Mark Bain

Finn Clancy touched hearts near and far as he battled a rare form of cancer - including that of his favourite author JK Rowling.

The 10-year-old, whose father Oisin is from Portadown, was a big Harry Potter fan.

The youngster died last month but his brave fight has won praise from the boy wizard's creator.

Before he passed away, Finn's last wish was for people to follow his YouTube channel, and his family appealed on his behalf.

The writer is one of many people who have since paid tribute to Finn and his positive attitude throughout his illness.

And his mum Lorraine Mitchell said gaining the recognition of a hero would have "been a dream come true" for the little boy.

"It would have been the highest honour for a huge Harry Potter fan and true Gryffindor that he was," she said.

The little boy spent much of the last two years in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London before finally losing his battle at home on June 25.

Actor Tom Aldridge, who appeared as Ron Weasley in the stage play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, tweeted a poignant message on Finn's passing.

He said: "Gryffindor flags flying at half mast today. Rest in Peace Finn Clancy. 10 years old, Huge fan of Harry Potter and a true Gryffindor. Such a brave fighter. Sleep tight #FinnthePheonix."

And Rowling retweeted a message from the play's official Twitter account that said: "Finn's courageousness and bravery is inspirational to us all."

Finn's grieving family described him as a "little ray of sunshine" and said that they were "incredibly proud of what he achieved".

Lorraine said: "The Harry Potter books were Finn's inspiration for his YouTube channel and he chose the Phoenix as his own Petronus.

"The channel was a huge distraction for him and gave him a focus through a very difficult time.

"It became a source of pleasure for him in entertaining others.

"As JK Rowling herself wrote: 'Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light'.

"It's our intention to monetise the channel and continue it (with Finn's best friend) as a way of raising funds for research into rhabdomyosarcoma.

"Finn will always be there."

Dad Oisin added: "We are so incredibly proud of him and are heartbroken.

"He was courageous to the end and his positivity always shone through."

Throughout his treatment the youngster, who had the rare cancer metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma, immersed himself in his YouTube channel.

"We had a chat with Finn and came up with the idea of getting 1,000 subscribers for his channel, and it helped to take his mind off things," his dad added.

"He got so many more and they should know that they made a little boy very happy."

A JustGiving page has been set up to raise funds for Alice's Arc, a children's cancer charity funding research into finding more treatments. Visit www.justgiving.com and search for FinnthePhoenix

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