The parents of a youngster suffering from a rare muscular disorder have thanked local people who helped them pull in more than £12,500 for charity.

Clare and Craig Dixon, the parents of seven-year-old, Ella, who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), raised £12,680 through an event at the Castle Green Hotel, thanks to locals and businesses donating prizes for a raffle and auction.

The money will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to fund research into the strain from which Ella suffers – along with just four other girls in the whole UK.

“We’re delighted with how much we raised, absolutely over-the-moon,” said Mrs Dixon, of Kendal.

The disease could leave Ella paralysed with muscle and organ wastage.

The youngster has never climbed a tree or been able to ride a bike and is under the constant care of doctors in Barrow and Newcastle.

But because the condition is so rare in girls, little is known about how it will progress.

Mrs Dixon said: “It can be a life-limiting illness. Boys who suffer from it can be in a wheelchair young and can die young – but with girls they just don’t know.

“Ella can’t ride a bike, she can’t manage the stairs and she falls for no reason. But we have no idea how the disease will progress.”

Around 250 people attended the event, where prizes given away included a holiday to Guernsey and a break in the Lake District, which included a stay at the Hilton House in Bowness, a meal at the Cedar Manor Hotel in Windermere and a lake cruise.

Local photographer Claire Mansfield also attended and is now selling photographs from the night to raise cash for the cause.

One person bought a giant teddy bear at auction that had been donated by Beale’s department store – and gave it back to Heron Hill Primary School pupil Ella as a gift.

Barclay’s Bank also donated £3,000 towards the total.

Sarah Wilcox, volunteer fund-raising manager at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said that the money would go to the Duchenne Muscular breakthrough fund.

“There’s no cure but we hope to have a greater under-standing of the disease,” she said. “It’s a really exciting time in terms of the results coming back from clinical trials and this money will make a huge difference.”

A team is now planning to take part in the Great North Run to raise more money for the fund and Mrs Dixon is now urging anybody who wants to be part of ‘Team Ella’ to call her on 07778-814783.