GENEROUS shoppers in High Wycombe have helped raise £3,500 for a charity set up in memory of a Prestwood boy who died from a rare form of cancer.

Fundraisers for the Thomas Ball Children's Cancer charity held bucket collections outside the Marks and Spencer Food store on High Wycombe retail park throughout 2010.

Charity collectors even had a celebrity donor when actress Pauline Quirke dropped some money into their buckets when she stopped for some shopping.

The charity was set up by Thomas, who died in 2003 aged 14 following a six-year battle against neuroblastoma.

Collections started outside the store when a former member of staff, Jilly Jenkins - whose son Joe is being treated for leukaemia - put the Thomas Ball fund forward to benefit from the M&S 125 year celebrations last year while she was working there.

The charity was given a donation of £162 from the supermarket, who then encouraged store staff to do more to help them.

Thomas' mother, Elaine, said: "We would like to thank the store for their support during 2010, all our volunteers who work tirelessly to raise funds for sick children and the customers of M&S who have been so very generous this year.

“We really appreciate every single penny that has gone into our collecting buckets, it has made such a difference to our cause."

She added: “Even Pauline Quirke made a donation in our buckets while she was doing her shopping at M&S. She was very chatty and showed an interest in the charity.”