When singer Ed Sheeran flew in to surprise Bluebell Wood’s Abigail

When singer Ed Sheeran flew in to surprise Bluebell Wood’s Abigail

By Bob Westerdale | 12/05/2022

When singer Ed Sheeran flew in to surprise Bluebell Wood’s Abigail


MEMORIES of a tragic teenager whose ill-health touched the heart of pop icon Ed Sheeran will be lovingly rekindled in her home town later this month.

Ed visited Abigail Fleming in Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice a month before she died aged just 14.

He was her favourite musician, but sadly his tunes became the soundtrack to a life cut cruelly short by bone cancer.

Abigail passed away ten years ago this month and now her parents, Richard and Maria, are organising a fund-raising event at the Edward Dunn Memorial Hall, Maltby from 10am to 3pm on May 14.

Ed’s agent has indicated they hope to contribute an item for sale to boost the cash raised for Bluebell Wood.

Richard and Maria, who still live at the house where Abigail grew up in Maltby, are hoping to raise more than £5,000.

Richard says the hospice “makes life bearable when it is unbearable” and has other events in mind for the summer to help reach the target.

“We did a bit (to support the hospice) to start with, then tried to get on with the rest of our lives,” he said.

“Then we thought it was ten years since she had passed away, so we decided to do some events and set our target.”

Maria recalled how her daughter loved Yorkshire-born Sheeran’s music as he was just cutting his teeth in the pop industry.

“Ed was Abi’s favourite artist,” she said.

“We saw him as a guest on morning TV. Abi was sat with her mouth open. Right from that point, she really was a big fan.”

Richard said: “Abigail was too ill to go to a concert and when Ed found that out, suddenly out of the blue we got a phone call saying it was his day off and he was catching a plane from France and a train to Sheffield.

“He arrived at Bluebell Wood and spent time with us.

“We couldn’t thank him enough.

“It brought some light into her life and this helped us all face our darkest hour. He was an absolute gentleman.”

Maria said Abigail had initially started to feel ill in the summer of 2008 and had fallen over.

“After that, she was limping around and ended up going for an X-ray which flagged up bone cancer,” she recalled.

“There were times through the chemotherapy when she was really ill and on a few times we were close to losing her.”

Richard added: “She was very accepting of her situation, we were always open with her, she knew exactly what was happening.”

The whole family moved into Bluebell Wood for a while, as Abigail had her own room and her parentscould spend time with her and her brother Aiden  without being distracted by housework.

Maria described her daughter as “a bit quirky, adding: “She liked different things; she had a wicked sense of humour.

“She liked reading books, was always interested in ants and in particular bees, she takes after me for that!”

Richard added: “Abi planned her own funeral, believe it or not. We all had to wear bright colours, on orders!”

The dad said he still found it difficult to describe the family’s feelings, a decade on.

“Sometimes it feels like yesterday, other times it feels like a lifetime,” said the 52-year-old NHS quality and governance manager.

“If anything positive did come out of it, it is that my wife retrained and is now a counsellor with her own practice.”

Pop star Sheeran was launching his career when he met Abigail back in 2012 — and had been to the Brit Awards, where he was named Breakthrough Act of the Year, just eight days before his visit to the Maltby Academy student.

Now aged 31, he is currently on tour in Ireland.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/RichardFlemingMaltby to donate via Richard and Maria’s fundraising page.


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