A WELL-KNOWN Ayrshire charity fund-raiser has launched a bid to help a Mauchline girl who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Derek Montgomery, from Craigens, is making it his mission to raise £5,000 in five weeks for young Ava Bolton and her family - and he's enlisted both halves of the Old Firm in a bid to help him reach his goal.

Ava's family were devastated by the news that their daughter had been diagnosed  stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma.

They are now raising money to get treatment for three-year-old Ava in the United States.

READ MORE: Mauchline parents' plea after Ava's heartbreaking cancer news

Derek read Ava's story in last week's Cumnock Chronicle and felt compelled to do something to help.

Derek said: "I read the article and felt so much empathy for the family after losing a father and brother to the disease years ago.

"I just wished there was something I could do, and contacted Ava's father Scott and Natalie to ask if that would be OK.

"I'm currently fund-raising for Ayrshire Hospice, but I'm putting that on hold for now to concentrate on this project and response within the first few days has been positive."

Derek has had support from many top stars during his numerous fund-raising efforts over the years - and this challenge will be no different.

Cumnock Chronicle: Derek with Celtic captain, Callum McGregor.Derek with Celtic captain, Callum McGregor. (Image: Derek Montgomery)

He added:" I'm a regular at both Rangers and Celtic camps and receive a lot of gifts from both clubs towards my charity raffles.

"The likes of Celtic Captain Callum McGregor and Rangers boss Michael Beale have been brilliant and know about my charity work and often chat about how things are especially with Michael's nine-year-old niece Poppy suffering from cancer too.

"Some of the prizes are a signed top from Michael Beale and players, a signed ball from the Rangers squad, a signed captain's armband and print from James Tavernier, plus loads of signed prints from Rangers stars.

Cumnock Chronicle: Derek with Allan McGregor.Derek with Allan McGregor. (Image: Derek Montgomery)

"On the Celtic side, there were signed boots from Callum McGregor plus a captain's armband, boots from Daizen Maeda and signed hat from goalkeeper Joe Hart, plus other items from Celtic and the squad."

Derek has been raising money for cancer charities now for more than 12 years and has raised over £50,000 for Cancer Research UK, Children With Cancer UK and now Ayrshire Hospice.

His fundraising efforts were acknowledged last year by the Scottish Government after he completed his 10th consecutive London Marathon in aid of charity - on that occasion for Macmillan Cancer Support.

READ MORE: Running legend smashed through TENTH London Marathon

Derek added: "Medals and certificates will be good to look back in years to come but right now I just want to do this small effort for the family of Ava.

"I would urge anyone who would like to help, donate or make a pledge to the fund-raising.

"Times are tough right for everyone but some people have it tougher and I'd ask people to dig deep for this cause.

"Also if people would like to make a private bid for the old firm items to get in touch directly before they go to raffle."

Cumnock Chronicle: Boots donated by Celtic's World Cup star, Daizen MaedaBoots donated by Celtic's World Cup star, Daizen Maeda (Image: Derek Montgomery)

People can donate at www.gofundme.com/f/HelpAngelAva.