SUNDAY will mark what would have been the eighth birthday of little Madison Allan , a schoolgirl whose life-long battle with cancer touched the hearts of East Lancashire.

To mark the occasion, and to raise money for a charity in her memory, Madison’s family have organised a ‘birthday bash’ on Saturday night at the Whitehall Hotel in Darwen.

After her death on Boxing Day last year, Maddi’s Butterflies was been set up to give treats to other children suffering from rare cancers, and to offer support to their families.

Mum Samantha, 36, of Lord’s Crescent, Lower Darwen, said: “It’s the party on Saturday night, and it should be really good.

“I’ve been asked to make a speech on the night but I’ve said no, I think it would be too much.

“Then it’s Maddi’s birthday on Sunday. That day is going to be horrendous, really bad. But I’ve been so busy organising the birthday bash that I haven’t got my head straight.”

On Sunday, Madison’s family will release balloons with messages at her graveside, and will have a meal at her favourite restaurant, Frankie and Benny’s in Blackburn.

Samantha added: “It will be a quiet, family time on Sunday, but I’ll still be busy, counting up how much we’ve raised and writing thank you letters.”

The birthday bash on Saturday will be attended by 122 people, and will include a three-course meal.