A COURAGEOUS young girl who suffers from a painful digestive illness is determined to help others despite missing out on her Christmas dinner this year.

Ellie Pugh is just eight years old and has Crohn’s Disease. She was diagnosed in 2012 and the treatments available are struggling to get her condition under control.

It means that for the next six weeks – over Christmas and her ninth birthday – Ellie, who lives in Leigh with her brother Connor, aged four, and sister Beth, aged 12, is unable to eat solid foods and is being fed a milk-like solution through a feeding tube.

Despite this she has turned her attention to raising money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

“I want to help other people and stop their suffering. I am going to go round supermarkets with my bucket to collect money from people,”

she said.

Her parents, Donna and Anthony, have also set up Facebook and Just Giving pages to help the Sacred Heart pupil reach her goal of £1,000.

Her mum Donna said: “It is early days but in two weeks she has raised £200.

“We are just so proud of her for the way she is handling everything, she has just dug deep and carried on.

“It is the little things she misses out on, like an advent calendar and her birthday cake but she has said from the start that she wants to help others.”

There is no cure for Ellie’s illness and she may require surgery to control it and prevent flare-ups and the painful stomach aches she suffers.

Little is known about what causes the condition but more and more children are being diagnosed with it every year.

Anthony said: “There are some days when she has crawled into school because she is aching and tired, but she wants to go, and even when she is feeling ill she won’t let the teachers send her home.

“It has knocked her confidence and she is less outgoing than she used to be, but the fact she wants to go out there and help others is inspiring.”

To donate or find out more about Ellie’s condition, visit facebook.com/digdeepforellie or justgiving.com/digdeepforellie.