A little girl who dreamed of being a princess as she battled back from the brink of death has been granted her wish thanks to the kind-hearted people and businesses of Hartlepool.
Keisha Watson was diagnosed with leukaemia in February and at one point was read her last rites by a priest after medics thought she would not make it through the night.
However, the brave youngster fought the battle of her life and even though she still has to attend hospital 35 times a year for chemotherapy in her legs and stomach, and bone marrow lumbar punctures, she is winning her fight against the disease and doctors say her condition is now treatable.
Throughout it all the five-year-old had always dreamed of spending the day as a princess and after meeting taxi driver and member of charity Miles for Men Stephen Picton by chance, her wish finally came true on Saturday.
Mr Picton organised a day the youngster and her family will never forget.
An event was held at West Hartlepool Rugby’s ground, in Catcote Road, with Keisha and her family arriving by horse and carriage to hundreds of well-wishers who had gathered outside to greet them with a rapturous applause and cheers.
They were followed in by a cavalcade of motorbikes.
Once inside the building, Keisha was crowned Princess for the day while outside bouncy castles and free ice-creams were available for youngsters.
Keisha’s mum, Natalie Watson, 31, said: “I can’t explain it with words. Keisha has really enjoyed the day and it has been such a special day for her.
“She has been overwhelmed by it all. I just can’t thank people and the businesses of Hartlepool enough. When we came down the road in the carriage, it was just beautiful and amazing. I didn’t expect to see so many people turning out. I only thought there would be a few family and friends, it is just amazing to see just how much she is liked.
Mr Picton, who helped make the day possible, said: “After I met Keisha, she just played on my mind so I went in to see the Miles for Men team and said why can’t we make her a princess for the day? That was two weeks ago, so to have half of Hartlepool turn out for the day is just fantastic.”
Michael Day, founder of Miles for Men, said: “It is absolutely amazing as we know what these people are going through as we are going through it with my daughter now.
“Stephen has ran about for two weeks solid along with Scott Noble, who is another member of our team, to make the event possible.”
Miles for Men is a charity based in Hartlepool which raises funds for cancer charities through men-only fun runs throughout the country.