Tens of thousands of pounds raised for hospital where young Burnley fan (10) is being treated!

A selfless Burnley fan continues to spread the true meaning of Christmas after passing the halfway stage of his incredible charity challenge.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 2:02 pm

Nine-year-old Freddie Xavi will have covered 100km - which equates to 60 miles - once his fundraising efforts reach a conclusion on Christmas Day.

The Whalley Primary School pupil has been running 2km per day in aid of Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where his best pal, Hughie Higginson, is receiving treatment for leukaemia.

And donations have been flooding in from all corners of the globe as he smashed his initial £1,000 target.

Freddie Xavi (9) and Hughie Higginson (10) at Whalley Cricket Club as the fund-raising challenge in aid of Royal Manchester Children's Hospital hits the halway mark.

The generous contributions of friends, family and complete strangers have been overwhelming and the total raised, including gift aid, is now tipping £16,000.

The youngster brought up the milestone at Station Road - home to Whalley Cricket Club.

"I play football pretty much every day so I run around a lot," said Freddie, who plays for Accrington Stanley's Academy.

"My Mum [Sarah] had told me about Hughie's diagnosis so I thought it would be good to raise money and this was a good challenge.

Young Burnley fan Freddie Xavi en route to completing another two kilometre run

"It's been amazing. I didn't even think I'd get £1,000 so to get so much more than that is just amazing.

"It's good to get to halfway. It's cold now, but I'll still get through it. I just want to raise as much as I can and do the best I can do.

"Hughie is doing really good. He's going through a really hard thing, but he's kept a smile on his face.

"We've known each other for our whole life through family, friends and football. We're good friends."

Hughie's Dad, Kieron Higginson, joined Freddie at Whalley Cricket Club

Hughie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in September, and faces three-and-a-half years of treatment at RMCH.

The courageous 10-year-old, who was a mascot alongside Freddie when the Clarets hosted Manchester City last season, has been really touched by the love and support he has received since his diagnosis.

Classmates from Wheatley Lane Primary School and team-mates from Barrowford Celtic U10s Orange donned their 'Hughie's Heroes' t-shirts and joined Humphrey's (Virtual) Lantern Walk.

And Evan Forrester braved wintry conditions to scale Yorkshire's Three Peaks - which include Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent.

The total raised so far, including the funds raised by Freddie, has now surpassed £31,000.

"My school [Wheatley Lane Methodist School] have done a walk and another friend from football has done the Three Peaks," said Hughie.

"There have been different pages that people have put money to, they've all been really helpful.

"We're at £30,000 now and it's just amazing. It will benefit all the kids in the hospital."

Hughie, who received a surprise visit at his Higham home from Burnley defender James Tarkowski, who came bearing gifts in the form of a PS5, is hoping to make a difference to the lives of other children being cared for at the hospital.

He's hoping to put the money towards the installation of a fresh juice station on Ward 84, where he's receiving treatment, as well as a slushie machine.

"The hospital is amazing and I want to thank all the charities and everybody that has donated. It's an amazing cause," he said.

"When I went in the other week they were amazed at how much we'd raised. The total is still shooting up.

"I'm feeling better than I have been over the past couple of weeks. I've got another three years of treatment. I'm doing well, I've got through quite a big chunk of treatment."

To make a donation to Freddie's challenge, which has attracted nearly 800 supporters so far, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/freddie-xaviHughie added: "We've been friends for quite a while because we played football together when we were younger.

"What he's doing is really good and it's such an amazing thing that he's thought of me."

And you can make a donation to Hughie's Year 6 classmates here: https://www.justgiving.com/team/Hughie.