Ledbury toddler Courtney Jones-Davis, who suffers from the rare genetic condition Rett Syndrome, can look forward to swimming with dolphins in Florida, thanks to the kindness of local people who have raised money on her behalf.

Last Saturday, members of the Ledbury Skittles League took part in a 12-hour marathon "Skittleathon" at the Royal British Legion Club in Church Street where, through sponsored skittle matches, a raffle, donations and an auction, over £4,500 was raised for the three year old.

The toddler developed normally until she was 14 months old, then lost the skills she had developed, such as talking and holding.

One hope is that ten days of joyful "dolphin therapy" in Florida, costing £5,000, could encourage Courtney's communication skills.

Courtney's mum, Belinda Jones, of the Langland, said of last Saturday's fundraising event: "It was brilliant and myself and Courtney's father, Wayne, would just like to thank everyone who took part. It looks like Courtney is on her way to Florida! We are there, and there are still things going on.

"We are just amazed by the kindness of the Ledbury people and their generosity. We are astounded by their help."

The idea is for Courtney to visit the dolphins in around 18 months time, when she is around five, and will be able to get the most from the intensive sessions.

Courtney could benefit from more than one trip to Florida, so great has the community response been towards the youngster, who suffers from a rare genetic condition that affects just 40 children a year in the UK.

The toddler is also benefiting from regular hydrotherapy sessions at Osbourne Court in Malvern Link, sponsored by Ledbury businessman Len Huff, the owner of Toybox in the Homend Mews.

Last Saturday's event was the brainwave of John Preedy and Keith Wall and mainly involved two local League teams, the Wallbangers and the F Troop.

Between 9.30am and 9.30pm, an astonishing 6,000 pins were tumbled.

Pauline Preedy said of the effort: "There must have been a few aching bones on Sunday! My husband, John, said he hoped for £1,000, and that he'd be pleased with that. It's nearly five times that now, and we are so delighted.

"Courtney was there with her family, and it was really emotional, because she is absolutely gorgeous."