Girl backs friend’s cancer fight

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A Winthorpe girl who annually raises funds for Children in Need has, has this year taken on a second cause – a 10-year-old friend fighting cancer.

Courtney Blair, 12, has brought in hundreds of pounds for the annual BBC campaign in recent years – just shy of £350 in 2015 and about £225 the year before that.

This year, she has decided to raise funds for her close friend Ebony Kirk.

Ebony, from Scunthorpe, has recently been diagnosed with muscle cancer and is now in her fifth week of chemotherapy.

She became friends with Courtney through annual family holidays in the area, first meeting her when Courtney was aged six.

“Their friendship blossomed from there,” said Courtney’s mum Gayle, 48.

The pair have stayed close through sleepovers and regular phone calls.

Gayle spoke of the impact the news of Ebony’s ill health has had on her daughter – and the community.

She said: “She was devastated. We all are.

“The family is part of the community now. They are not just holidaymakers, they are close friends.

“The whole community was devastated.”

Courtney has been holding table-top sales in support of Children in Need and Ebony and also involving her school, Skegness Academy, where efforts have included donations of items from pupils to sell at fundraisers.

Courtney’s fundraising total already stands at more than £250, with more events planned.

“She is going to continue on doing this through to Children in Need,” said Gayle.

Of her daughter’s generosity, Gayle said: “Nine times out of 10, she thinks of others before she thinks of herself.”

She added: “I think she is absolutely brilliant.

“As a mum, I’m biased, obviously, but I can’t be more proud of her.”