A NEWTON Abbot man has brought to life the vivid imagination of his son after he tragically lost him to cancer in November last year.
‘Our son Fletcher was a happy healthy boy,’ said Tony Discombe, Fletcher’s Dad.
‘But at the tender age of seven, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.’
After his diagnosis, Fletcher spent long periods in hospital, undergoing various treatments that even the toughest of adults would struggle with. The diagnosis became progressively worse, but at every moment, Fletcher continued to fight with a resounding strength and spirit.
‘Fletcher was a legend, all through treatment,’ said Tony.
‘His sense of humour remained, he was brilliant and took it all in his stride. I saw more strength and resilience in a seven-year-old than you do in most adults.’
It was during his treatment that Fletcher thought up Piggy Pogwart and his friends. Tony said: ‘Every single character in the book was thought up by Fletcher. While he was having treatment, all these little things that he talked about, my wife Kath just jotted them down.
‘Tigey was a stuffed teddy that went everywhere with him. We tried to tell him it was a leopard, not a tiger but he was having none of that, it was Tigey.
‘We have absolutely no idea where he got the other characters from. He’d just randomly shout out Piggy Pogwart!’
After months of brutal treatment, Fletcher lost his battle with cancer, passing away in November 2022. But in seven years, Fletcher’s impact on everyone he met was huge.
Tony and his wife Kathryn were keen to keep his memory alive, but also to raise money to help others in a similar situation.
They started raising money for Fletcher’s Arc, working under the umbrella of charity Alice’s Arc. Writing a book based on the characters Fletcher created was a way to immortalise his creativity while raising money for a good cause.
Tony said: ‘We thought of putting the book together not long after he died. We had this list of all these little characters that he had, that was just Fletch.
‘It was initially just for us as a family to share the memory of Fletcher through his imagination, but then we realised that all of his classmates were suffering because they’d lost their friend and they didn’t really know what to do with that. So we thought it would be nice to include his classmates by putting the book in the school.’
Magnificently illustrated, the book follows Piggy Pogwart and his friends as they embark on an adventure to attend a gig, seeing acts such as Freddy the Unknown Flapjack and Mr Fabulous Bean.
So far, the reception has been great. Tony said: ‘People love it, we have people messaging us that we don’t know saying what a fantastic read, read it to my kid tonight, they just want to hear it again and again.’
He added: ‘We love this book, we love that his imagination is in a book, we love that his Piggy Pogwart is out in the world, it’s amazing.’
With Kathryn recently running a half marathon and Tony set to take on a wing walk next month, this is just one part of the fundraising efforts for Fletcher’s Arc. So far they have raised over £6,000.
► Piggy Pogwart: Pig at the Gig can be purchased for £6.99 online at Amazon or Waterstones or at the MDA office in Newton Abbot.