PUPILS have raised more than £1,000 to help a young girl and her family fund regular hospital visits.

Students at King James I Academy in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, organised a series of events to raise funds for A Smile for A Child.

The charity is supporting the family of four-year-old Esmie Lowes from High Etherley in Bishop Auckland.

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Esmie requires regular hospital visits around the country for treatment for a severe kidney disease.

Students in years seven, eight and nine, raised £1,003.02 through selling pens and pencils, sponsored silences and a raffle with prizes donated by staff,

Chris Read, chief executive of A Smile for a Child, said: “The students at King James have done an excellent job, just fantastic, and this money will mean a huge amount to Esmie and her family.”

Euan Elliott, 13, whose form raised more than £200, said: “We decided to help the charity and Esmie because she was a local girl who needed our help.

“We thought we may as well do what we can to help her family.”

Dave Longstaff from the school said: “The students really took Esmie to their hearts.”