A FAMILY is raising money for their “beautiful little girl” after the hospice they relied on was forced to close.

Ella Eckersley suffers with a rare terminal brain malformation which has left her needing round-the-clock care in order to eat and sleep.

The five-year-old lives with her grandparents in Chadderton and the family is frequently visited by nurses from Grace’s Place children’s hospice in Radcliffe, which grandma Susan Kelly says “helps to take the pressure off”.

However, increasing financial pressures are forcing the hospice to close in August and Ella’s family have turned to the public for support by launching a campaign on charity website GoFundMe.

Ms Kelly, 61, explained that the £5,000 total they are hoping to raise would help to buy new equipment to improve Ella’s quality of life and allow other people to help care for her. This would also mean support for Ms Kelly and partner Dave Eckersley, 55, who care for Ella fulltime.

“We had the house adapted and we got some money from the council but it still took up all of our savings,” she said.

“It’s very difficult when you’ve got a child with a life-limiting illness.

“When you talk to most people they ask how you are and you say I’m fine.

“But it’s different with the hospice staff, when they ask you you can tell them you are not coping, you’re coming apart. You can trust them, they’re part of the family.”

Ella has been offered a place at three other hospices but each one - based in Chorley, Didsbury and Huddersfield - is too far away.

She suffers from Lissencephaly, Microcephaly and Quadriplegia. The conditions have created a rare, gene-linked brain malformation, which is incurable and life shortening.

Her condition means that she needs special hearing aids and a fitted tube to help her eat. She also suffers from seizures which stop her sleeping and are becoming longer and more severe as her condition deteriorates.

Despite her illness and the pressure of the hospice closing, Ms Kelly says Ella is never without smile.

“Everybody who sees Ella or meets her falls in love with her,” she said.

“She’s a very happy, contented little girl, it’s amazing given the situation.

“She’s always smiling and laughing. She goes to bed with a smile and wakes up with a smile, even when she’s not sleeping she’s laughing not crying.”

The fundraiser, named Help Ella’s Dreams’, has currently reached a total of nearly £2,000 with local businesses and residents offering money to help with care.

To make a donation, visit: www.gofundme.com/help-ellas-dreams.