THE family of a “cheeky and inspirational” little boy who has died aged four after a battle with cancer has paid tribute to him.

Link Simpson, from Leigh, will be “forever four” after he died last month from a rare type of soft tissue cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS).

Leigh Journal: Link Link

He will be remembered fondly by his doting parents Clare and Bradly Simpson and his older sisters Millie and Sophie, aged nine and seven respectively.

Such was his legacy, that at a private ceremony held on Tuesday, May 3, brave Link was given a guard of honour by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, which had previously made him an honorary member of Red Watch crew.

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Link with his sisters 

His family now want to honour his life with as much colour as possible, with a day of celebration at his school, Parklee Primary in Atherton from 1pm on Saturday, May 21.

His proud dad Bradly, 43, said: “Link was a positive person, and he is and always will be such a huge part of our lives and such an inspiration to others.

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“He was diagnosed at 20 months old after a lump on his leg was discovered after his vaccinations and despite being told it was nothing to worry about, we got it checked again and found that it was in fact Stage 4 cancer and that it had metastasised to his bone marrow.

“Despite only having one birthday not ill, he lived life to the fullest, always smiling, always joining in conversations – even ones that originally he wasn’t part of - and being such a positive force to everyone around him.

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“To us this isn’t an end, Link is forever four and that’s the way we look at it.

“Now it’s about celebrating his incredible life and being very proud of our son alongside all of those who also loved him.”

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The family is holding a celebration of Link’s life at his school and are encouraging others who knew Link to wear bright colours.

Bradly, a sales manager, added: “Link had 33 goes of radiotherapy, 18 months of chemotherapy and over two years of treatment, 120 days in hospital.

“However, despite this he made such a huge impression on those around him, and we are so proud of him.

“Two people we live near also had cancer diagnoses and one didn’t want treatment, however after seeing how Link carried on through it all she is now getting treatment – he inspired her to get treated, saving her life.

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“Because we knew time was limited, we made memories - lockdown didn’t help with things and we were kept apart more than we should have been - but the likes of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service making him an honorary crew member and Swindon Town Football Club making him a mascot will forever be happy memories for us.

“We want to celebrate our cheeky and inspirational little boy and raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice, who have helped us so much and have housed us after Link died at our home.

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“We are now back home, figuring out what our new normal looks like and being there for our girls, but we would very much like to celebrate Link and thank Derian House for all they have done to help us.”

Bradly added that he hopes Link’s legacy will be that others “trust their instincts” and get concerns checked out early.

He added: “You have to go with your gut instinct. Despite the fact a doctor told us the lump on Link’s leg was nothing to worry about, we were worried.

“If you disagree, get a second opinion, make sure. We did get another opinion; he was stage 4.

“I hope that’s Link’s legacy is: trust your instinct.” ❤️💙

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