THE family friend of a little girl who died from a rare form of cancer is taking on a 24 mile walk to raise funds for charity.

Richard Appleton, who is originally from Darton but now lives in Belgium, will be doing the walk tomorrow in memory of Aalish Naylor.

Aalish was just eight when she died last year after losing her battle with neuroblastoma - a type of cancer which affects the nerve tissue.

Richard, 39, and his family were very close with the Naylor family, and his daughter Kadie, 13, was best friends with Aalish.

The walk he will do on Saturday will start from Sheffield Children’s Hospital and finish at Aalish’s grave in Dodworth. Richard is aiming to raise as much money as possible for Aalish’s Ride the Theme Dream charity, which was set up by Aalish’s mum Joanne Naylor.

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The charity will offer children with the rare form of cancer and their families time away from the hospital to be able to enjoy theme parks.

Richard, who is a sergeant for the 2nd Battalion in The Yorkshire Regiment, said: “I have known Jo’s husband since day dot and I have grown up knowing the family. Aalish and my daughter were best friends, they did stuff together and I did things like take them on trips to town.

“This charity is something that is very close to my heart and I want to do things like this for as long as I can. I have been training since Christmas for this walk which is just short of 24 miles. It was Aalish’s last journey and afterwards myself, my family and Jo and her family will be having a little gathering at her resting place.”

Aalish’s mum Joanne has been pushing for the Aalish Ride the Theme Dream charity since setting it up and once it is officially registered it can start helping families.

The charity has now surpassed its target of £5k and Jo is about to start the process of registration.

“It has been a very tough time lately as we have passed the one year anniversary and it just seems to be getting harder every day,” she said.

“We are now just at the mark to register the charity, which is what I will be looking into in the next couple of months. We recently held a race night at The Garrison which was great. The support and the food we had was amazing and that part of the evening was a massive success. We all had a lot of fun.

“I will be starting the process of registering Aalish’s Ride the Theme Dream as an official charity, which will take a while, and then we take a look at helping out our first family which will be amazing.”

Anyone who wants to sponsor Richard or donate to Aalish’s Ride the Theme Dream should see the Facebook page here.