A student diagnosed with brain cancer has fulfilled a bucket list dream by piloting a navy ship from Liverpool to Salford.
Nineteen-year-old Laura Nuttall took the helm of HMS Charger on the journey last week after the navy responded to her special request.
Laura started her first term at Kings College University in London studying International Relations in September last year. She was just getting used to student life when she started to suffer headaches.
Soon after, Laura was told the heartbreaking news that she has Glioblastoma Multiforme, which is the most aggressive Stage 4 brain cancer, after a routine medical to join Kings College URNU showed abnormalities behind her eyes.
Laura underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy at The Christie Hospital in Manchester throughout December in an attempt to keep the remaining tumours at bay.
She is now embarking on a further six-month course of intensive chemotherapy this month.
A ‘gofundme’ page has been created by Laura’s mum, Nicola Nuttall, to raise money for treatment. It states: “We don’t have a lot of time and we’re doing everything we can. Our wonderful friends in the running community and from Trawden AC have already made a great start to the campaign and have already raised well over £10,000 towards treatment but if you feel you could help by making a small donation, we would be so very grateful. #doingitforlaura” you can visit the ‘gofundme’ page here.
A video was posted on the ‘Doing it for Laura’ facebook page.
Laura had always wanted to join the Royal Navy but this diagnosis put all her future dreams on hold.
But when her mum Nicola contacted the Royal Navy and explained her story, Naval Regional Headquarters Northern England at HMS Eaglet arranged for Laura and her family to spend the day on board HMS Charger.
Boarding from Liverpool, Laura was all ready to go dressed in full Royal Navy gear, accompanied by her parents Nicola and Mark, younger sister Gracie and grandad David Anson. They sailed up the River Mersey and the canals to Salford.
Charger’s commanding officer Lieutenant Paul Harsent gave Laura the wheel and let her helm the P2000 through the waterways.
Laura speaks about her experience ““I never got as far as to getting out on a ship so to spend the day on HMS Charger has been amazing. It is something I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do.”
Lt Harsent said: “It was great to invite Laura and her family on board and help her tick something off her bucket list.
“We wanted her to experience what it’s like on a P2000 and part of that is piloting the ship. She did a really good job and seemed interested in what it takes and the way to do it. Hopefully she enjoyed the day and a small taste of Royal Navy life.”
Before the family left HMS Charger, Lt Harsent presented Laura with the ship’s crest and a HMS Charger cap tally.
Experiencing driving the HMS Charger was not the only thing on Laura’s bucket list,
In December, Laura was a guest at Everton Football Club, where she met players including Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
She also visited Sir Paul McCartney perform at the Echo Arena in Liverpool last month.
Only yesterday Laura was a guest at Mission Motorsport at Silverstone today, she was driven very fast round the track by Chris Harris from TopGear in a Mercedes AMG and then in a Maclaren S before driving an HGV
Many people have donated to the ‘gofundme’ page raising so far an incredible £90,935 towards their aim of £150,000, but they’re still a way off and need donations to be able to pay for treatment for Laura.
‘Doing it for Laura’ bracelets are being sold on Facebook to raise money and the ‘gofundme’ page can be visited here.
Photo credit – LPhot Robert Oates/Royal Navy