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Ava’s Chain of Kindness is spreading positivity throughout the community

Ava tragically lost her fight with leukaemia on Mother’s day this year (Pic-Barking and Dagenham Council)

Over 10,000 people have made colourful paper bears to spread kindness in memory of a two-year-old Dagenham girl who died of leukaemia. 

Ava Cottle tragically passed away on Mother’s Day this year after a battle with cancer and people have been adding to a growing chain of the bears in her memory. 

It’s been inspired by the generosity and support of the community during Ava’s final months. 

One example was when local businesses and residents donated sand and other things to make a beach in her garden during lockdown. 

Family friend, Sam Gosby, began Ava’s Chain of Kindness to bring people together and to help spread a sense of kindness and positivity.

Ava herself decorated a paper bear, as did her brother Henry-Joe and his classmates at Hunters Hall Primary School which inspired other schools to take part. 

Soon there were over 10,000 bears in the chain. 

Over 10,000 people have made bears (Pic-Barking and Dagenham Council)

Sam poignantly said during the lockdown, “At a time when we can’t hold hands, our bears can.”

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Darren Rodwell has supported the campaign and has even created a bear, “I have been in awe of Ava’s Chain of Kindness.

“Ava’s death was devastating to her family and our whole community – taking the pain of losing a child and turning it into something positive is such an inspiring thing to do.”

They have also been able to raise some money for Young Lives vs Cancer, who supported Ava’s family through the difficult time. 

A recent event at Valence House Museum allowed the community to come together and see the chain. They also hosted a bear hunt, bake sale, crafts and a silent auction which saw them raise just under a £1,000. 

Ava’s parents, Cherry and Leigh Cottle, thanked the community, “Thank you for all the messages and support, it’s helped us through, there are so many kind people out there in what can be a cruel world.”

Becky Clements, Fundraising and Engagement Manager at Young Lives vs Cancer, said, “It’s wonderful to see Ava’s family doing such a fantastic thing to connect children across the UK, creating something positive in Ava’s memory.

“We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work, so we can’t thank everyone who supports the campaign enough – thanks to them, we’ll be able to help more young people thrive, not just survive after their cancer diagnosis.

“People can donate to Young Lives vs Cancer, by texting CHAINOFKINDNESS 3 to 70450 to donate £3, or CHAINOFKINDNESS 5 to donate £5 or by visiting the JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/team/avacottlefund.”

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