THE parents of a little girl who was born prematurely are starting a month of fundraising for an operation to help her walk.

Ellie Leathert, five, has cerebral palsy which means she cannot walk without assistance because of involuntary muscle spasms.

Her parents, Justine Wallace and Matthew Leathert, are trying to raise £45,000 so that Ellie can go to America to have the surgery which will help her take her first unaided steps.

Justine and Matthew, from Rishton, have teamed up with Active Women, which is run by Hyndburn Leisure, for a month of activities to raise the money.

Ellie will be making a special guest appearance at the first event on March 3, a zumba diva party and guests and instructors can dress as their favourite divas.

Justine said: “The support we have had so far has been brilliant but we just want to push it because we are nearly there.”

She said Ellie was really excited about going to St Louis in Missouri and hoped that she could have the operation by October.

Active Women has been funded by Sport England to remove some of the barriers to physical activity that women in Hyndburn face.

Tickets for the zumba party, on March 3 at Norden Sports Centre, which cost £10, are available from Accrington Town Hall or Active Women instrutors.