‘A-HAPPY-GO-LUCKY’ teenager who died of leukaemia will be remembered at a charity night on what would have been his 40th birthday.

Wilson Whittaker, from Bishop Auckland, was 13 when he was diagnosed with the disease and tragically died just a week later.

His death devastated the community and his heartbroken family, including his parents Wilson and Susan Whittaker and sister, Suzanne, have struggled to come to terms with what happened. But in the year that Wilson would have turned 40, Suzanne feels ready to fundraise in his memory, having previously found the idea too painful.

She has organised a series of events and activities, which will culminate in an 1980s themed charity night at Tindale Working Men’s Club on Wilson’s birthday, Friday, July 27. All of the money raised at Smash Hits: The 80s Tour will be donated to the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group.

Suzanne, who is manager at the club, said: “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but I’ve never felt able to. It was just too upsetting for us all.

“In January, I thought about how Wilson would have turned 40 this year and it seemed the right time to do something. I know it is a long time after but we have really struggled. An ‘80s night seems the perfect thing to do as I know Wilson would have loved it. He was such a happy-go-lucky person and was the life and soul of a party.”

Wilson attended Bishop Barrington School, where he was popular pupil. Following his death a tree was planted in his memory in the school grounds.

“He had lots of friends because he was such a friendly person,” said Suzanne

“He loved his football. He just loved life really.”

Tickets for the fundraising night are now on sale priced at £7. As well as the musical entertainment, there will be a raffle, featuring a host of prizes donated by local businesses. Highlights include a 32-inch television and free hot tub hire for a weekend.

On the run up to the party, Suzanne and her friends are taking on other challenges to raise further funds for the charity.

First up will be a 17-mile sponsored walk from Tindale Crescent to Staindrop and back on July 5. This will be followed by a bag pack and tombola at Tesco in Bishop Auckland on July 20 and 21.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Suzanne and the other walkers can fill in a sponsorship form at Tindale Crescent Working Men’s Club.

Tickets for the party can also be bought at the bar or can be ordered by contacting 01388-602827 or tindaleclub@hotmail.com

To find out more about the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group visit cclg.org.uk