A LITTLE York boy lost his three-year battle against cancer when he died in his sleep early on Boxing Day.

Six-year-old Blaise Etheridge-Clarke, who suffered from tumours on his brain and spine, had enjoyed Christmas Day, playing pass-the-parcel with a massive parcel, said his mum, Theresa, of Rawcliffe. “It was a lovely day,”

she said. “My colleagues at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, where I work as a nurse, had packed the parcel with hundreds of prizes.

“He had been in pain and I gave him some pain relief but when he went to bed, he was playing with his DS and I didn’t think anything.

“But when I went in to his room in the morning he was cold. He had passed away in his sleep.

“It has come as a real shock.

We were told in the autumn he only had months to live but the consultant had thought he might now have another couple of months.

“But we managed to do all the things we wanted to do with him - and I’d like to thank all the people who helped raise the funds that made it possible. Over the years, I think about £20,000 was raised for Blaise.

“When we knew Blaise had only got months to live, we made a ‘bucket list’ to grant him as many of his wishes as possible.

“We took him to Disneyland Paris in October and he had a go on all the rides, and we went on a VIP trip to Legoland thanks to Superbreak (the York-based travel company), and someone bought him a guinea pig hutch and some guinea pigs.

“But we also went on lots of day trips to do all the things we could as a family. We wanted to make use of every minute of every day while we could. We went up to Beamish and to the museums in York.

“We also took a loan out to buy a motorhome and he loved going away in that.”

Blaise, who attended St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Primary School, underwent repeated surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy for his condition over three years until doctors said in the early autumn there was nothing more they could do to help him.

In 2010, he won a Child Of The Year award at The Press’s 2010 Community Pride Awards, for displaying exceptional bravery since being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2009.

The judges were told how he had survived a nine-hour operation to remove part of a tumour from his brain, and was undergoing 12 months of intensive chemotherapy to prolong his life.

Despite being in constant pain and spending lengthy stays in hospital, his mother said he never felt sorry for himself and never complained.

• Blaise’s funeral will take place at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Burdyke Avenue, Clifton, but the date has not yet been arranged.