A CANCER-stricken disabled young boy's parents have launched an appeal to raise £20,000 to keep him at the school he loves.

Freddie Holland, six, has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia for two years but the side effects of chemotherapy have left him needing a wheelchair.

Now his mum and dad Gemma and James are trying to raise enough money to enable structural work - including replacing steps with ramps - to make Hanbury First School fully accessible for Freddie.

Crucially, there is already disabled access at the school, though it is not suited to Freddie's needs, which has made getting funding impossible, leading the Breme Park family to undertake a charity drive instead.

"We really couldn’t ask for a better school for him to be a pupil at," said mum-of-three Gemma, 35. "However, due to Freddie’s mobility issues and the school's layout, it is not fully accessible for Freddie.

"This work would make the school a little bit more open and while we are mainly doing this for Freddie, it would be nice to think another child will benefit in the future.

"Hopefully, it can help other parents and children at the school in years to come, without them having to go through all of this."

Freddie was just four when he was diagnosed with leukaemia and is still undergoing chemotherapy but the treatment has led to a series of other long-term problems including potential liver disease.

He has also developed Perthes disease which is when the ball-shaped head of the thigh bone loses its blood supply and collapses, meaning he will need a hip replacement when he is older.

"If he was to fall, his hip would shatter," explained Gemma, "which is why we want to make school as safe as it can be for him.

"It's been hard for us - as a parent, that (cancer) is the last word you ever want to hear out of a doctor's mouth.

"But Freddie doesn't complain - he's just a happy little boy who knows he has different abilities to others and can't do certain things that other children can.

"The chemotherapy has caused a lot of side effects but I'm just thankful he's still here."

Gemma has given up work to care full-time for Freddie and his two brothers and admitted the impact of this summer's coronavirus pandemic had hit the family hard.

Her husband James, a supermarket manager, had to work unsociable hours to limit contact with people while Freddie was shielding.

"The only thing Freddie could look forward to during lockdown was his hospital appointments because that was the only time he was allowed out," Gemma reflected sadly.

Gemma was full of praise for the school for how they have looked after Freddie and said that was the driving force behind the funding appeal - because he desperately wants to remain there.

Freddie has almost three years of schooling left at Hanbury and Gemma added: "The children there have been through his journey with him.

"The kids have supported him massively - if he's having a bad day, they can see it and try to help him.

"The headmaster and teachers are so supportive and caring and have given Freddie so much care and support over the last few years.

"It's nice to know when I drop him off that I have full trust in the school 100 per cent.

"The last thing we want to do is have to remove Freddie from the school and people which he loves so much.

"Going to school is one of the main things that keeps Freddie going and makes him feel like a normal child."

To donate to the appeal, which has already raised more than £1,700 in just a few days, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/freddiejamesholland

Hanbury First headteacher Andrew Payne said: "Freddie is such an enthusiastic pupil who is a treasured friend to both pupils and staff.

"Hopefully Freddie’s enthusiasm will inspire as many people to this worthwhile and life-changing project.

"We understand that the local authority is responsible for an increasing number of children with additional needs.

"We at Hanbury endeavour to be fully inclusive and are happy to work with all agencies to insure that Freddie and the future generation of Hanbury pupils have full access to our wonderful environment."