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  1. ITV Report

Brave Guernsey FC fan dies after long battle with leukaemia

Guernsey FC fan, Ernie Backlund-Leale, passed away yesterday, peacefully at home with his family around him Credit: ITV Channel TV

Ernie Backlund-Leale has lost his battle with leukaemia at the age of 12.

Often seen at Guernsey FC matches when he was well enough, Ernie's cheeky smile captured the hearts of many on the island.

Diagnosed in 2012 he underwent more than three years of intensive chemotheraphy, coupled with surgery, after which he went into remission, but in January 2016 he relapsed.

Too poorly to leave the hospital ward in Southampton, in February 2016 his favourite football team came to him.

Four Guernsey FC players, as well as mascot Roary the lion, who Ernie had a special bond with, made the surprise trip.

In July last year he had a bone marrow transplant, and to begin with it looked as if it had been a success. However, blood tests early this year revealed he had relapsed again.

His diagnosis didn't phase him. Ernie was always smiling.

A guest of honour at matches he could make, Guernsey FC put on an afternoon tea for Ernie and Roary, as well as other courageous young islanders in February this year,

Ernie also set about ticking things off his bucket list including learning how to play the drums with his band Ernie and the Ormers, taking one of his long term carers, Sandie Mallett to see orangutans in Jersey Zoo and sitting in the chair of the most senior police officer at Guernsey Police.

Ernie passed away yesterday morning, peacefully at home with his family around him.

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Whilst we are all incredibly sad, we should remember how brave Ernie was and, no matter what, he found a smile. Ernie would want everyone to remember him with a chuckle about the many fabulous adventures he enjoyed. Guernsey FC's thoughts and love are with his family at this time. Rest in peace, Ernie.

– GFC Director: Sara Mallett