TWO brave East Lancashire youngsters battling childhood cancer were all smiles on Saturday as they got to go on a trolley dash around a Blackburn toy shop.

Theo Power and Jessica Whelan, who have both been diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, had one minute each to dash around The Entertainer in Blackburn Mall and grab as many toys as they could before its grand opening on Saturday.


The youngsters were all smiles as they packed a combined total of over £600 of toys in to their baskets.

Jessica, four, who lives in Oswaldtwistle, failed to respond to treatment and has been taken off her clinical trial.

And parents Nicki Prendergast and Andy Whelan said they wanted to provide her with as many happy experiences as they could.

Miss Prendergast said: “To be honest it was overwhelming. I didn’t expect it to be so good. Jessica loved it.

“There were a lot of things she couldn’t get for Christmas so she’ll be a very happy girl when she gets back home and opens lots of presents.

“I am just so grateful to be asked. I would like to thank everyone at The Entertainer.”

Theo’s mum Leonie said: “It was fantastic. It’s brilliant that they’re putting a smile on Theo’s and Jessica’s faces. We are grateful for what The Entertainer have done for them both.

"They loved it. They were very overwhelmed and very excited. We only told Theo about in last night so it’s been a really nice surprise for him.

“Jessica and Theo are both being treated at Manchester so they’re best friends anyway. But it was nice they could do it together.”

Theo, six, who lives in Lower Darwen and attends Feniscowles Primary School, said: “I don’t know which is my best toy. They are all my best toy.”

Tanya Elershaw, store manager at The Entertainer, said: “We’re really glad to be here. Blackburn has a great shopping centre and it’s a great town.

“It was heartwarming to see Theo and Jessica and they were absolutely amazing. I am really excited they got that chance.”

The Entertainer donates ten per cent of its net annual profit to charity each year.