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Toddlers' farewell to brave pal.

Byline: Kat Keogh

DOZENS of balloons were sent soaring into the sky in memory of a brave Birmingham toddler who succumbed to a rare genetic disease.

Little Luca Atzori died in his parents' arms earlier this month after a fight against Tay-Sachs.

Luca, who died at Acorns Children's Hospice, was one of just four children in Britain with the condition, for which there is no known cure.

Around 50 of his friends gathered at Sandcastles Day Nursery in Erdington yesterdayto say goodbye to the tot, who died just three months after his second birthday.

Nursery nurse Erin Ford, who cared for Luca when he attended the nursery, said: "We only knew him for a short while and we wanted to say goodbye by letting off the balloons.

"There were some tears but he was such a lovely boy."

Luca's parents Zoe and Antonello made headlines last year when their four-year-old daughter Ella was denied entry to Boldmere Infant and Nursery School.

Their home in Sycamore Road, Erdington, was just 39 metres outside the catchment area. But they won their case on appeal after arguing the longer journey to Wylde Green Primary, where Ella was offered a place, would put too much strain on Luca.

The Atzori family launched the Luca Loves Life Appeal after their son's diagnosis and have raised more than PS25,000 over the past year. For more information, visit www.lucaloveslife.org.uk

CAPTION(S):

Colourful tribute: Staff and pupils from Sandcastle Nursery releasing balloons to say goodbye to Luca Atzori. Below, Zoe and Antonello Atzori with Luca.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 13, 2013
Words:261
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