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‘Friends of Vinnie’ support Shine in his memory

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The family of eight-year-old Vincent (Vinnie) Barker who died suddenly in July 2012 are holding charity fundraising events in his memory.

Vinnie, from Ipswich, had undiagnosed hydrocephalus, signs of which were tragically missed during a routine eye test. He died five months later.

Vinnie’s family now want to do all they can to help others. They have set up ‘Friends of Vinnie Barker’ in his memory, to raise awareness of the importance of eye health care and funds for the charity Shine, which provides specialist support for anyone living with or supporting someone with spina bifida or hydrocephalus.

Vinnie was “active and football loving”, and the events reflect this, from memorial football matches to sponsored walks. In February Vinnie’s sister Amber and friends Nicole, Ella, Lyla, Lauren, and Rosie will be doing a colourthon – colouring-in a massive picture of Paris, and the family will hold a charity evening in March at Ipswich Sports Club. Vinnie’s uncle, Michael Eley, will then take on the London to Paris Cycle Challenge in July. Vinnie’s school have also raised funds and paid special tribute to him.

Michael reflected: “Our family are continually overwhelmed by the empathy, support and generosity of friends, and those who never even knew Vinnie.

He added “We aim to work endlessly to raise funds for Shine and to keep the memory of our special little boy alive.”

Shine CEO, Kate Steele said: “Vinnie’s story is a tragic reminder of how serious hydrocephalus can be and the vital role that health professionals should have in detecting and preventing serious problems. Our hearts go out to Vinnie’s family, and we are so touched by their support. We will do all we can to raise awareness of hydrocephalus and to support better training and quality of health care services around the country.”

To sponsor Michael or Amber, go to and search Vinnie Barker. For more see

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