A LITTLE girl with leukaemia had hopes of a dream holiday nearly dashed when a holiday company that had pledged to raise money for her disappeared.

Bryan and Carol Jones, parents of five-year-old Vicki, thought their dreams had come true when an organisation, Phoenix Cancer Care for Kids, told the family they had raised nearly £1,000 to send Vicki and her family to EuroDisney.

With only days to go before the family set off, the family were unable to trace the organisation, based in Dudley Hill, Bradford.

West Yorkshire Police and the Charity Commission are both investigating the unregistered charity.

Bryan and Carol, of Waldridge, did not have the heart to break the news to Vicki.

Luckily generous readers of the Advertiser's sister paper, The Northern Echo, came to the rescue and pledged almost £1,000.

Check Mate North East, an electrical engineering company based in Hurworth Place, Darlington, is donating £200. The Darlington branch of Amicus, formerly the AEEU union, pledged £200.

Individual donations were also given, including £100 from Betty Lishman, 70, from Cassop.

Jump About Bouncy Castles, based in Darlington, has offered use of a bouncy castle for free and another reader, Mary Armstrong, of Crook, has volunteered to raise money through face-painting and made an individual donation.

The family has asked that the money from the event goes to the Batti About Kidz charity, which takes seriously-ill children from on trips to EuroDisney.

The charity will be taking Vicki to the theme park and has been working hard to extend the deadline for payment on the Jones' family hotel room.

Margaret MacMurray, of Shildon, has organised a charity evening to take place at Old Shildon Workmen's Club in Shildon on Friday, April 18.

The main attraction of the evening will be a 'tribute to the stars,' an act made up fathers and businessmen from Shildon who impersonate acts ranging from Boyzone to Elvis. There will also be a raffle and bingo.

The generosity of readers has overwhelmed Vicki's family.

Mr Jones said: "Everyone has been really brilliant.

"The response to the appeal has been absolutely fantastic. It looks like we're going to be okay."

Tickets to the Shildon charity evening are available by ringing Crossways Caf in Shildon on (01388) 776856.