A CHARITY is offering financial support to local families who have been affected by childhood cancer.

The Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust was set up in memory of four-year-old Grace Kelly, from Crowle, near Worcester, who died just weeks after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2014.

The trust has been working to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer - but says its success at fundraising means it can now offer grants to families with ill children.

Grace’s mum, Jenifer Kelly, said: “When Grace was diagnosed, there was no local financial help available.

“Suddenly parents are faced with long periods of time off work, increased childcare costs for siblings, travel to distant specialist hospitals for appointment after appointment and living away from home whilst their child is in hospital. At the Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust, we want to help.

“Due to increased local support over the last months, we are pleased to announce support for the families of children diagnosed with cancer in Worcestershire.

"We will also offer further support if the child sadly passes away.

“A referral process has been set up and we will be accepting referrals from the relevant hospitals and social workers. This will be paid for by our local fundraising activities local to Worcester.

“The first grant has already been given. Thank you to our fundraisers for making this possible.”

The charity was formed in 2016 and has been working to change the future for other children affected by childhood cancer.

The trust aims to help save the lives of children by funding research, providing education, raising awareness and working towards an earlier diagnosis for children with cancer.

Mrs Kelly said: “Due to fantastic support, we have grown quite quickly and have been working to fund much needed research into rare aggressive childhood cancers.”

The charity has worked both locally and nationally, creating awareness cards for parents. Thanks to the cards, six families have already been able to spot early signs of cancer in their children.

“Research shows that earlier diagnosis saves lives and we are working to change this,” Mrs Kelly said. “Childhood cancer affects 1 in 285 children before the age of 19 so it is not as rare as many of us think.”

For more information, visit gracekellyladybird.co.uk