Terminally-ill Holly Clarke is heading to New York to help with vital research into her killer disease.

The six-year-old is in the final stages of crippling Batten's disease which has already robbed her of most of her sight and ability to walk and talk.

Holly had been one of only a handful of children in the world at the moderate stage of the illness to be approved for trials of a pioneering treatment at Cornell University's Weill Medical College in New York after vigorous assessments last year.

But her parents, Darren and Shirelle, of Swain House, Bradford, were dealt a devastating blow when Holly's condition worsened from the moderate to the severe stage of the disease which meant she was no longer suitable for the trial.

Despite that, Holly has been invited back to New York to help researchers process their findings so far.

Darren, 35, said: "We had a call from the co-ordinator of the trial at Cornell. All six of the children with moderate Batten's and all six with severe Batten's have now had the treatment. One or two of them have started having seizures.

"The researchers want children who could cope with having the assessment again so they can compare findings from children who have not had the treatment with those who have. Through this they hope to find out if the seizures are being caused by the treatment, the doses or the disease itself."

Holly and her family are due to fly to New York next month. "We were very nervous at first," said Darren. "Holly has a chest infection at the moment, we will not allow her to do the assessment unless she is up to it.

"It will be beneficial if we go back. We need to help them decipher what is causing the seizures and we will see how much deterioration has occurred in Holly. We need to make progress with the research and this will help. If no one took part in drugs trials where would we be in terms of cancer research?"

l A charity night featuring Kylie Minogue tribute artist Joanne Steele and Robbie Williams impersonator Lee Pashley will boost funds for Holly's appeal fund at East Ward Labour Club, Otley Road, Bradford, tonight at 7.30pm.

Signed Robbie Williams CDs, football memorabilia, restaurant meals and beauty treatments are also up for grabs in an auction and raffle.

For tickets contact Darren Clarke on 07958 063276 or Gareth Crossland on 07761 903339.