A SERIOUSLY ill Teesdale toddler was well enough to leave hospital for the first time in three months when he attended a special party to raise cash for his care.

More than £7,000 was raised when hundreds of people packed into Barnard Castle Cricket Club to support three-year-old Joshua Denton.

Little Joshua has been undergoing treatment in Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary since September after suffering unexplained seizures that have left him unable to walk or talk.

He was well enough to leave hospital for a few hours on Saturday to attend the party with parents Scott and Joanna and 11-month-old sister Mia.

Mr Denton paid tribute to those who had supported the family, from Middleton-in-Teesdale.

“Everyone has been so generous. People were turning up with donations and cheques we did not expect,” he said.

“It was also the best day Josh has had for a while. He has had a bad couple of weeks due to the treatment, and an infection, but being around familiar faces and voices helped him.”

Mr Denton added: “There must have been up to 250 people there – the place was packed – and if we had booked somewhere bigger we could have sold more tickets.”

The family has also taken delivery of a wheelchair and car fitted with a ramp, which enabled them to transport Joshua to the party.

Afterwards, he was taken went straight back to hospital, but Mr Denton is confident he will be able to bring his son home next Monday evening so he can spend Christmas Day with his family.

“Medically, the doctors have done what they can for him, it is a case of giving him time,” said Mr Denton.

“We plan to get him home gradually, starting off with one night at a time for the next three or four weeks, then extending that to weekends.

“Then once we have got settled and sorted, hopefully in a couple of months, he will come home permanently.”

Mr Denton explained that the money raised for Joshua will be spent on any special needs his care may require once he is back at home, such as equipment to stimulate his senses.

The party was organised by Jodie Dodgson, of the Little Monsters day Nursery, which Joshua and Mia attend.

Santa popped in, much to the delight of all the children, and there was a disco, buffet, face-painting and a raffle.