‘We will make sure she never forgets daddy’ – loved ones mark 21st birthday of boxer killed in sunbed accident

Sharna Gardner with daughter Rhkiya-Mae, who are holding a fundraiser for the Great North Air Ambulance.
Sharna Gardner with daughter Rhkiya-Mae, who are holding a fundraiser for the Great North Air Ambulance.
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Family and friends of a teenager who died in a freak sunbed accident will gather for a charity fundraiser on what would have been his 21st birthday tomorrow.

Amateur boxer Grant Adams died at the aged of just 17 in June 2014 after tripping into an upstanding sunbed at his home in South Shields, suffering horrific throat injuries.

Rhkiya-Mae, whose mum Sharna Gardner is holding a fundraiser for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Rhkiya-Mae, whose mum Sharna Gardner is holding a fundraiser for the Great North Air Ambulance.

The tragedy happened just weeks before his daughter, Rhkiya-Mae, was born, and her mum, Sharna Gardner, has told the Gazette of why it is so important to mark what would have been Grant’s 21st birthday.

Sharna, 18, said: “Even though Grant is always in our thoughts, June is always a very difficult month for us all. We have his memory, Father’s Day and his birthday this month.

“It has been a really difficult time over the last three years, but having Rhkiya has meant I’ve had to get on with it for her.

“She knows all about her dad and has her own memory box so she’ll always remember him.”

Instead of a party for his 21st birthday, we wanted to have a fundraising event for the Great North Air Ambulance, who did a lot to help him

Sharna Gardner

She added: “I always like to think of Grant in a positive way because he was such a positive person himself.

“Every day is hard, but it’s difficult to put into words.”

Those who knew Grant, who was born in Sunderland before later moving to South Shields, will meet for a fundraising event at Armstrong Hall, in Stanhope Road, South Shields, tomorrow.

Funds will be raised for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

Grant Adams died in 2014 after a sunbed accident at his home.

Grant Adams died in 2014 after a sunbed accident at his home.

Grant was flown by them to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infimary (RVI) after the accident three years ago.

Friends and family of the former Horsley Hill Amateur Boxing Club member remain hugely grateful for the work the GNAAS did to try to save him.

Sharna added: “We usually set off balloons on Grant’s birthday, which Rhkiya really enjoys doing, but with it being his 21st we thought we would do a fundraising event for the Great North Air Ambulance.

“It’s a charity so close to our hearts after they tried everything they could to save Grant’s life.

“They were absolutely amazing in trying to help Grant, and we just want to raise as much money as possible to give something back to the charity.

“They were at the scene within minutes and did everything they could to help him.

“The staff at the RVI were so good as well and helped us every step of the way.

“We’re hoping to do more events in the future for GNAAS to raise as much money as we can for them.

“This event is public and free – we just ask for a donation to be made to the charity.

“There will be some amazing prizes to be won, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated, because without the donations this event would not be possible.”

The GNAAS is reliant on donations from the public, and their efforts in helping Grant were featured on Sky television series Air Ambulance ER in 2015.

Everyone is welcome to attend tomorrow’s fundraiser, which starts at 6pm.

There will be a chance for people to make donations on the night along with raffles, tombolas and activities for children, including a bouncy castle and face painting.