ELLIOT Bond - the little boy who is planning to run from York to Selby to help other children who have stayed at York Hospital - has been invited to help switch on the Christmas lights tonight at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland.

Elliot, eight, of Copmanthorpe, won the honour to join York’s town crier Ben Fry at the ceremony, staged at the Wonderland’s ice skating rink at York Designer Outlet in Fulford, after being crowned York’s ‘local hero'.

His mother Maxine said he was given the title after receiving 20 nominations in a competition run on social media by the Wonderland.

The Press reported in October how Elliot had stayed on York Hospital children’s ward several times because of extreme tonsillitis and other infections - the first time as a baby after suffering convulsions.

Now he had decided to try to run 15 miles to Selby in a bid to make children on the ward feel better and make them smile, and also to thank the staff for the care they had given him during his stays on the hospital ward.

His mother Maxine said then that he wanted the children to have more toys, "a teddy each, a snuggly blanket - something to help make them feel better or make them smile... He said he didn’t like seeing the children there poorly and wanted to raise money to get them things".

She said yesterday that fundraising for the run, scheduled for November 30, was going really well.

“We’ve passed the £800 mark now and will be taking the charity buckets with us to the Wonderland as requested by them, so hopefully that will drum up a little bit more for the ward,” she said.

“Elliot’s training is also going well. We’re keeping everything crossed and hoping for a dry day on the 30th.”

She said Elliot was allowed a VIP guest to join him at the switch-on ceremony and he had asked if he could take a child off the ward for a couple of hours.

“We’re so very proud... and rather emotional too,” she added.

To support Elliot’s run, go to www.gofundme.com/f/elliots-15-mile-run-for-the-kids.

The Wonderland includes the 975 square metre Ice Factor, the North of England’s largest outdoor ice rink with a 30ft high sparkling Christmas tree as its centrepiece, surrounded by illuminated trees, log cabins, rinkside cafe and a viewing platform.

Organisers say guests will be welcomed throughout tomorrow by a Christmas parade featuring marching toy soldiers, and the centre will be giving out Christmas Crackers filled with ‘random acts of kindness’ including gift cards, tickets for skating, grotto and fairground tokens.