A CHARITY appeal to mark what would have been the 21st birthday of a Blackburn boy who died from cancer has raised an amazing £17,700.

Alex Charnley, of York Crescent, died in 2001 aged nine after a two-and-a-half year battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Just For Alex was set up in his memory and raised cash for the young oncology unit at Manchester Children’s Hospital where he was treated, Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust, and defibrillator charity Pumping Marvellous.

Each of the charities was presented with a cheque for £5,900 – an equal share of the total amount raised.

Alex would have turned 21 in August last year, so his family decided to hold a series of events to remember him and mark his birthday.

The charity organised a number of events including a sponsored walk, a soul night, a football veterans’ match with boys Alex’s age, who he used to play football with, and a race night.

Several people also organised their own fundraisers by offering to take part in sponsored runs or hold coffee mornings, and several schools held non-uniform days in aid of the appeal. Alex’s mum Karen Charnley said: “We just did it for a year because it would have been Alex’s 21st last year so we decided to have a year of events and raised funds along the way.

“We would have been happy if we had raised £10,000, we were really happy to raise that much.

“We were pleased to be able to do something to mark that year, just as a remembrance, raising money was a side issue.”

She added: “We organised events so everyone he knew could come together, and it came off really well, better than expected.”

Since Alex died, his family and friends have raised more than £20,000 for charity in his name.

Karen said that while last year’s epic fundraising drive was held to mark a landmark year, they will continue to raise money on an ad hoc basis.