A CHARITY dedicated to helping children suffering from cancer raised around £500 at a Christmas craft market.

The market at the Missenden Abbey Conference Centre in Great Missenden, featured stalls, a Santa’s grotto, festive food treats, and carol singers, as well as a tombola for the Thomas Ball Children’s Cancer Fund.

The Conference Centre is owned by Buckinghamshire New University.

Thomas Ball’s mother, Elaine, of Prestwood, ran the tombola with help from trustees at the charity.

She said: "We are delighted with the fantastic sum raised at the tombola and would like to thank Missenden Abbey once again for its support, as it has chosen us as its nominated charity for the year.

"The market had a constant flow of people and some did seem slightly addicted to returning again and again to the tombola, which helped boost the amount we raised! The whole day was perfect."

Thomas Ball died from cancer in 2003 aged just 14, and attended The Misbourne School, in Misbourne Drive, Great Missenden.

The Thomas Ball Children's Cancer Fund was set up by Thomas in 1999, then aged nine, with the help of his parents, with the aim of supporting children and teenagers who are undergoing treatment for various cancers.

The charity provides UK holidays in its two lodges on the Hampshire coast and an annual trip to Disneyland Paris for sick children every December. Money is also raised to fund research into childhood cancers - in particular neuroblastoma, which Thomas suffered - and to improve children's oncology wards.

Eva Neupauer-Jones, General manager at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, said: "We were delighted with how the day went and to provide support for the Thomas Ball Children's Cancer Fund.

"Santa saw 43 children in total and each one went away with a present and a happy smile on their face. The event seemed to really put people in the Christmas spirit."