LITTLE Ashton Kendall and his school pals helped raised hundreds of pounds for research into a rare condition in memory of his father.

The brave five-year-old sold cakes and dressed in blue when his school, Devonshire Road Primary School, held a Be Bright and Be Blue Day to raise money and awareness of the rare autoimmune condition scleroderma.

Ashton’s father, Kevin Kendall, died just months after being diagnosed with the condition at the age of just 40.

His devastated partner, Karen Anderton, aged 37, who lives in Smithills, said: “I am determined to do something positive in Kevin’s memory.

“I organised a day at home and the school have been amazing, really supportive always asking if there is anything they can do.

“Ashton is only young but he helped sell cakes which we made. I am so proud of him.”

Mr Kendall developed symptoms in his twenties and was thought to have mixed connective tissue disease.

He was diagnosed with scleroderma in February, but tragically died just as his treatment was about to start when he contracted pneumonia.

The condition, which affected his lungs, left him too weak to fight it.

Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease that affects the skin and other major internal organs.

Excess collagen is laid down in these organs, which in turn results in scarring and reduced normal function of the affected organs.

Miss Anderton, a childminder, said: “One of the last things Kevin did was to give blood for research, he knew it would not help him but could help others in the future. As a family we want to raise money for research into the condition.”

Despite having the condition, Mr Kendall managed to live a normal life, not only being able to manage walking long distances by foot but he also had the circulatory condition, Raynauds.

Devonshire Road School’s event and Miss Anderton’s fundraiser raised £611 for The Scleroderma Society.

Children at the Heaton primary had their face painted in blue and enjoyed a whole host of blue-themed activities.

Headteacher Pam Barnes said: “Ashton’s mum asked if the school could help take something positive from what has happened for her son and doing something in his dad’s memory.

“The day was incredibly well supported, and we were really overwhelmed by the response and the money raised.”