POLICE are investigating a national charity after it pledged to raise £1,000 to send a poorly North-East youngster on a dream holiday - then disappeared.

Now Bryan and Carol Jones fear their hopes of taking their five-year-old daughter, Vicki, to EuroDisney have been dashed.

The family, of Waldridge, near Chester-le-Street, County Durham, thought their dreams had come true when officials from the Phoenix Cancer Care for Kids charity said they had raised nearly £1,000 for the holiday.

But with only days to go before the family are to due set off, officials from the organisation cannot be traced.

Last night, the Charity Commission said it was investigating the charity, which is based in Dudley Hill, Bradford.

West Yorkshire Police told The Northern Echo they had also launched an inquiry following complaints.

A force spokesman said: "We are anxious to trace any of the trustees of this organisation."

Although a bona fide charity, Batti About Kidz, had organised the trip to Disney, it was relying on cash from Phoenix to cover the costs.

Batti About Kidz takes seriously-ill children on trips to EuroDisney in a "Jumbulance" equipped with all the medical equipment the children might need as well as sleeping and kitchen areas.

Andrea Marchant, of Batti About Kidz, said if it had not been assured the money would be raised, it would have done the work itself. But now, it does not have time.

The family were due to leave on the four-day holiday on Sunday, April 20.

Mrs Jones said she has not had the heart to break the news to her daughter, who has acute lymphatic leukaemia.

She said: "I've never lied to her throughout her illness, she knows what goes on. But I can't explain any of this to her.

"It's an absolute nightmare. She wakes up every morning, asking 'is it today?', 'If I wake up tomorrow, will I be going to Disneyland then?'

"I can't explain how it felt when I found out what had happened."

After several days of trying unsuccessfully to contact Phoenix about the money, officials from Batti About Kidz informed the police.

Ms Marchant said Batti About Kidz had severed its links with Phoenix days earlier, after finding that complaints about the organisation had been made to the Charity Commission.

The commission said last night: "We have opened an investigation into this organisation, which is currently seeking registration as a charity."

Now Batti About Kidz is trying to extend the deadline for payment on the Jones family's hotel room, in the desperate hope that the £850 needed can be raised.

Ms Marchant said: "What we need is some fairy godmother to come forward. I don't care how it happens, as long as we get that little girl on this bus."

The Northern Echo was unable to contact Phoenix Cancer Care Charity for Kids. The organisation's telephone line has been disconnected.

Anyone who can help should contact The Northern Echo news desk on (01325) 505064.