A 12-YEAR-OLD Darwen girl with learning difficulties will be starting a charity fun run in memory of her father who died from lung cancer.

Organisers of Cancer Research UK's Race for Life have offered Caitlin Jones a chance to wear be race number one and to officially start the race from the stage.

The youngster was offered the chance after Jayne Leggat, an event co-ordinator, read about Caitlin's story in the Lancashire Telegraph and contacted the family.

Caitlin's father Nigel was diagnosed with lung cancer the day she started at St Wilfrid's CE High School and Technology College, Blackburn, last September.

He died on February 12 at the age of 46, just two days after Caitlin's 12th birthday.

Caitlin of Somerset Avenue, Darwen, who will be running the race on June 4 at Witton Park, said: "I'm quite excited and shocked about starting the race.

"I want to do the race to stop all the boys and girls having to hurt like me after losing a mum or dad to cancer.

"I am so happy I'm doing this to help others who are sick with cancer.

"I'm looking forward to wearing the number one."

Mum Tracey Jones said: "The offer from Cancer Research UK was totally out of the blue, but Caitlin is over the moon, it's awe inspiring."

Jayne Leggat said: "Having seen Caitlin's story, I was very impressed with her energy, focus and determination to help raise money for Cancer Research UK .

"She is most certainly one of a kind and has so far raised over £1,000 in a matter of weeks. I have asked Caitlin if she would like to wear the number 1 on that day and also start the race."

(FAMILY HAVE ASKED TO INCLUDE THIS) Caitlin so far raised £1,000 for charity which includes a £100 donation by Glitter Girls keepsake card craft shop based in Birmingham.

Coun Moira Barrett, Earcroft ward councillor, said: "It is absolutely wonderful that she is doing the race and has been given the number one race number.

"It is nice to see her blossom, she is a brave little girl, if she is anything like her father she will have her spirit."

Caitlin is being joined in the 5k race by family friends, Melanie Hargreaves, Emma-May Hargreaves, George Chatburn, Lyn Seddon and Michelle Chatburn and will walk the course at a steady pace.

She will wear a daffodil pin in honour of her dad's Welsh roots.