Friends rally to help brave schoolgirl Ella

Tracey Clarke.
Tracey Clarke.

A Bowerham woman is to help raise money to buy prosthetic legs for a cancer-stricken former Forton schoolgirl.

Long-haired aromatherapist Tracey Clark, 44, will have her head shaved this month after feeling compelled to support ten-year-old Ella Benn, the daughter of a family friend.

Ella was diagnosed with bone cancer in October, just 18 months after she relocated to New Zealand with her parents to start a new life.

Mrs Clark, a married mother-of-two, who works across Lancaster and Morecambe, said: “I have a daughter who is nearly ten and that is something that really touched base with me. It was one of those moments where I thought ‘I need to do something here’.”

Ella, a medal-winning athlete who excelled at gymnastics, cross-country and skiing, was training for a marathon when she was struck with severe pain in her knee.

Mother Sandi, a former Royal Lancaster Infirmary nurse, and father Andy, an ex-policeman based at Cockerham, arranged tests which confirmed the youngster had bone cancer. Chemotherapy followed and the former Forton Primary School pupil lost part of her leg and her hair.

Mrs Clark continued: “The treatment she’s had over there has been amazing. She had part of her leg amputated and turned round so, as she grows, her heel will effectively become her knee when she puts it into a prosthetic leg.”

Ella’s family is trying to raise 20,000 New Zealand dollars - around £10,000 - to buy two prosthetic legs.

Mrs Clark has £400 in pledges and expects that figure to increase when she loses her locks at Tao’s Hairdressers in Lancaster, next Saturday, April 12.

She added: “I’m absolutely petrified because my hair is so long and it’s taken years to grow. I’m slightly mourning it already.” To donate visit