AN INDEPENDENT store is rallying around after its manager was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Ali Keable, the manager of Balloons For U, based in Pack Lane, was diagnosed on September 17, at the age of just 41, after going to see her doctor as she had a sore throat.

Within days she was receiving her first course of chemotherapy.

Now, Suzie Herridge-Baker, the owner of the store, has taken on mother-of-three Ali's request to fundraise in aid of the Wessex Cancer Ward at Basingstoke hospital with dozens of prizes donated to a raffle she is running to generate cash.

Prizes include a wealth of activities at hotels including bed and breakfast for two at Audley's Wood, a spa day with treatments at Hampshire Court Hotel, dinner for four at the Crowne Plaza in Reading and a round of golf for four at Sandford Springs Hotel and Golf Club.

Other prizes up for grabs include a photoshoot from Sarah Dutton Photography, a cupcake bouquet donated by Jo's Cupcakes and one month free bootcamp for ladies with Fonseca Fitness.

Suzie said: "We have connections with many of the hotels in the area because of our business and they have donated some amazing prizes.

"Ali came up with the idea, she said we have the contacts to make it work.

"She's fighting the good fight [with the illness]. She is definitely a fighter, 100 per cent. She will give it all she can."

Raffle tickets are available in store at £5 a strip with a draw set to be made in mid-November with it hoped Ali, who has also donated her hair to The Little Princess Trust, can do the honours of picking out the winners.