A BRAVE five-year-old Ilkley girl has had her flowing locks cut off to support a cancer charity after her own cousin was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease.

Ellie Waddington, who is a Year 1 pupil at Ashland’s Primary School in Ilkley, was joined by her dad Nick at Dexter’s in Ilkley and both had their hair cut off in support of the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

Ellie’s cousin Ruby Stewart is battling a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. Ruby is only six and was diagnosed two years ago.

Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma is a soft-tissue sarcoma which only affects around 300 children a year in the UK.

Current treatment is limited, and more research is desperately needed to help find a cure and prevent children and their families having to go through what the Stewarts have endured for the past two years.

Commenting on the lack of research funding for childhood cancer, Ellie’s dad, Nick, said: “Only a tiny proportion of funding for cancer each year, around four to nine per cent is for childhood cancers – this has to change. Our children deserve better.”

This thoughtful act by little Ellie to support her cousin is an attempt to help raise funds and awareness of this type of children’s cancer.

Asked how she felt doing this for her cousin, Ellie said: “I just wanted to help Ruby. But I do love my new hair!”

Ellie’s hair has been donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes wigs for children undergoing treatment like Ruby, who has herself lost her hair.

Josh Matthews and his team at Dexters barbers, in South Hawksworth Street, kindly donated their time to support this charity fundraiser.

Ellie and Ruby’s family and friends have many organised several other fundraising events:

• Ellie’s mum, Clare, who works at Virtual College in Ilkley, ran the llkley Half Marathon in July, for which elearning company Virtual College generously contributed £150 to the CCLG.

• Ashland’s Primary School has made the CCLG one of its two annual nominated charities.

• Friend of the Stewart family, copy editor Kevin Anderson has organised crowdfunding for a book in Ruby’s honour, ‘Ruby - The Unicorn with the Ruby Horn’.

You can buy copy at www.facebook.com/UnicornRubyHorn all proceeds from the sale of the book will go to CCLG.

So far Ruby’s named fund for CCLG - Super Ruby’s Rhabdo Raiser - has already raised nearly £30,000 and Ellie and Nick’s hair-raising has smashed its target of £1,000.

If you would like to contribute visit the fundraiser page http://bit.ly/2OJwIq9