A SCHOOLBOY from Sunderland has joined in the fund-raising efforts in memory of two football fans who were killed in the MH17 plane crash.
Newcastle United supporters John Alder, 63, and Liam Sweeney, 28, were among 298 people who died when the Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down above the Ukraine on Thursday.
South Hylton Primary School pupil Olli Reade heard about the news a day later and when he spotted a Newcastle fan out shopping on Saturday, he asked his mum Harriet if she knew about the tragedy.
When the football-mad five-year-old got home, he changed the habit of a lifetime and asked Harriet if he could play as the Magpies on his favourite computer game.
She was worried the Sunderland supporter was changing allegiances and left him to it, but shortly after he came to see her with a surprise.
The proud 26-year-old, from Ryhope, said: “He came in and said he had made something, it was a black and white loom band and I didn’t think much of it.
“Then he said ‘it’s for the boys who died on the plane’ and I couldn’t believe it. My friends know that I’m always on Facebook saying what a special little boy he is but he really is. It was so thoughtful of him and I’m really proud.”
Olli and Harriet, a recruitment consultant at Manpower in Sunderland Enterprise Park, decided to auction the band to raise money for flowers in memory of the two NUFC fans, who were travelling to New Zealand to watch pre-season friendlies.
Harriet added: “He loves football and has been to a handful of Sunderland games.
“He understands the rivalry and knows what this means to everyone.
“It was a lovely gesture and we only expected to raise a few pounds, just enough to buy some flowers.
“I didn’t really think much more of it until I got a message from one of Liam Sweeney’s friends.
“He said that Liam would have loved it and wanted to thank me and Olli.”
The leading bid for the loom band was £200 last night.
Harriet said: “I didn’t think it would get that high at all. I’m completely overwhelmed.”
To bid on the band, search for ‘Olli’s bid for the victims of flight MH17’ on Facebook.