A SCHOOLGIRL who has overcome leukaemia has raised money for charities close to her heart.

Zara Holland, 10, who attends Catherine Wayte Primary School, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on December 24, 2007.

The illness was discovered after Zara’s parents became concerned that she was constantly tired. Blood tests were carried out and at first GPs dismissed it as a virus. But leukaemia was confirmed on Christmas Eve after Zara was transferred from the Great Western Hospital to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

Despite undergoing gruelling treatment, Zara didn’t let it faze her and she was awarded with a Cancer Research UK Little Star Award after she went on to win more than 40 rosettes and a medal in pony riding shows, and continued with her tap dancing lessons.

Now, Zara, of Abbey Meads, has put her skills on the tennis court towards raising money for Prospect Hospice and children’s charity CALM.

She teamed up with her tennis coach to raise funds through a charity tennis match, serving up an impressive £560 for each of the two charities.

“I wanted to give something back to two very good local charities,” said Zara, who is a Wiltshire Under 10 tennis player.

“I know about the care that Prospect Hospice gives to people, and also CALM was very supportive of me when I was recovering. “Raising money through a tennis match seemed a very good way to do it.”

For mum Alison, Zara’s fundraising is a source of great pride.

“We are very proud of what she has done,” she said. “She started playing tennis when she was in treatment, and it has been a very good focus for her. “She was very determined to raise money, and we are very pleased that she chose to support two excellent local charities.”

Prospect Hospice community fundraiser Amy Francombe said they were delighted with Zara’s efforts. “It was great that Zara came to see us to bring in the money that she had raised for Prospect Hospice,” she said.

“We were all very impressed by what she had done to raise the money she brought in, and thank her, her family and everyone who supported her in her fundraising for Prospect Hospice.”

For more information on Prospect Hospice visit prospect-hospice.net and for more on CALM visit calmcharity.org.