Campaigners in support of the family of stricken tot Alfie Evans have staged a demonstration of solidarity in Blackpool.
Their gesture of support last night has been followed this morning by the sad news that little Alfie has died.
The 23 month old youngster fron Liverpool, who had a degenerative brain condition, died at 02.30am, his father Tom Evans said.
In a Facebook message he wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings... absolutely heartbroken.”
The latest news, which will leave the family’s many supporters heartbroken, came after than a dozen protesters armed with balloons met up outside Blackpool’s Central Pier at around 6.30pm last night, after making arrangements via Facebook.
The group, most of them strangers to each other, were all agreed on one thing.
They felt that Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James from Liverpool, should have been allowed to take their 23 month old son out of Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool and fly him to Italy, where doctors had vowed to treat him.
The youngster was suffering from a still undiagnosed condition which has resulted in a rapid deterioration of his brain.
His life support was withdrawn on Monday but his parents had been fighting to take him out of Aldey Hey so that he could have a final chance of treatment.
Alfie’s parents lost legal challenges against a High Court ruling allowing the hospital to withdraw ventilation.
Michael Bloor, 48, of Central Drive, Blackpool said: “They should have let him go, it is wrong what has happened.
“Why can’t they take him to Italy, it’s disgusting.”
Mum-of-seven Charlie Le Sauvage, said: “If he had gone to Italy, at least he would have had a chance.”
*See Monday’s Gazette for full story