A SHY plasterer turned Elvis impersonator has helped raise £1 million to launch a new children’s cancer charity.

Darren Leonard says he is thrilled to have helped Reuben’s Retreat hit its huge target in under two years.

The charity was formed by Tameside couple Mike and Nicola Graham whose 23-month-old son Reuben died of a rare and aggressive cancer in 2012.

Mr Leonard, of Willans Drive in Breightmet, has been “Rocking for Reuben” all over the country and raised more than £3,000 at a golf day at Farnworth and Great Lever Golf Club in June. Mr Leonard, aged 49, said: “We are all absolutely buzzing.

“We went out with Reuben’s mum and dad to celebrate and they are thrilled too.

“I can’t believe how generous people in Bolton have been from the start. The donations really did flood in after the golf day and we are so grateful.

“I’m still going to carry on rocking for Reuben and have more dates planned.”

Reuben’s Retreat is due to open in the next two to three years as a place where families with children with life-limiting or terminal illnesses can go to relax, recharge and create memories.

Mrs Graham said: “Losing Reuben was and is the most torturous experience and we would of course give anything to have him back with us.

“This will never be the case and so we want to help others who find themselves in this horrendous situation by offering them support every step of the way.

“We want to help them enjoy the time they have with their children as well as offering much needed support for bereaved parents too.”

The next fundraiser will take place at the Railway Club in Green Lane on Saturday, October 4.