A LITTLE girl is holding a charity ball to celebrate the life of her late father.

Millie Neilson lost her dad Darren, 31, in 2017 when he was killed in a tank explosion at a military training base in Wales.

Now she is holding a birthday ball for her dad in support of the charity that has supported her family since his death, Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Millie’s mum Jemma said: “Millie came up with the idea for the party herself. She just asked me one day, ‘are we going to have a birthday party for daddy?’

“I thought it was a great idea so we came up with the plan to hold it in honour of Darren with all the proceeds going to Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

“We don’t just want to sit back and not do anything – it’s really important to us to keep Darren’s memory alive.

“We’ve done most of the organising ourselves, from the entertainment and venue to the food! We’ve now sold over 200 tickets to the ball.”

The event, which will take place at Blackburn Rovers football ground tonight, will include a three-course meal, silent auction, live auction and an acoustic singer along with a performance from The Voice winner, Kevin Simm.

All proceeds from the ball with go to Scotty’s Little Soldiers who have offered both Millie and Jemma endless amounts of support since Darren’s death.

The charity, which was founded by war widow Nikki Scott in 2010, supports children across the UK who have lost a parent while serving in the armed forces.

Corporal Darren Neilson, who was killed in a training accident, was described as a 'real family man'

Jemma said: Scotty’s Little Soldiers have been fantastic. It’s hard to describe the impact they’ve had on Millie’s life. Through their support, events and mixing with other children in similar circumstances, Millie has really been able to be a little girl again for the first time since Darren’s death.

“We both really want to give back to the charity and holding a charity ball seemed like the perfect way to do it.

“We have other things planned too, I’ve signed up for a Tough Mudder Challenge and a 10k run as well.”

Founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Nikki Scott said: “We want to wish Jemma and Millie the best of luck with the charity ball. It’s a great way to celebrate someone’s life by throwing them a big party.”

Darren was originally from Blackburn and attended Ribblesdale High School, Clitheroe.