A JOCKEY’S valet highlighted the heart-breaking plight of young Darlington man when he dressed up as an Elf while he was working at Catterick Racecourse on Tuesday.

Stephen Charlton said he was inspired to make the gesture after he was almost moved to tears when he read the story of Luke Bell’s last chance to receive specialist treatment.

The eight-year-old, from Darlington, has been battling neuroblastoma for almost two years but his family recently received the devastating news that his cancer had spread and that he could die within weeks.

The youngster’s plight has touched the hearts of his community with people taking on a number of fundraising challenges and organising a series of events to ensure Luke has the best Christmas possible.

Speaking on Racing UK Mr Charlton said: “I was laid in bed reading The Northern Echo, like I normally do, and I read an article about a young lad, he’s only eight-years-old, who has got neuroblastoma, who lives in Darlington and his name is Luke Bell.

BRAVE: Luke Bell on the shoulders of his father MarkBRAVE: Luke Bell on the shoulders of his father Mark

Luke Bell on the shoulders of his father Mark

“He has been through exhaustive treatment over here and doctors have said there is very little that can be done for him – it just about reduced me to tears.

“I went on his JustGiving page and chucked some money is, as there wasn’t much money in to be fair, and I urge everyone to just go on that page and let’s help him.

“His last chance is to get to Barcelona for some help and treatment that a hospital over there is doing, and I thought ‘I’ve shoved money in’ and I could do something stupid to help, hence I’m here dressed as an elf.”

Vowing to do all they can to save the Darlington schoolboy’s life, the family are now hoping that their community will back them in a last-ditch attempt to raise £100,000 for trial cancer treatment.

Luke’s father, Mark Bell, said they are currently waiting for doctors to approve plans to fly the child – who is fighting neuroblastoma – to Barcelona to undergo treatment grounded in chemo and immunotherapy.

Last weekend saw him enjoy a rugby match from a VIP box at the Northern Echo Arena before gaming with friends aboard a Battle Bus at the arena.


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