HUNDREDS of people gathered in Old Leigh, in a bid to find a bone marrow donor for a 15-year-old boy fighting for his life.

The Swab for Charlie event, on Sunday, organised by Southend charity Gold Geese, aimed to find a match for Charlie Reed, who has two rare types of blood cancer.

He urgently needs a bone marrow transplant.

His mum, Shelley Legge, 38, ran a half marathon, before joining volunteers at the event, held at Osborne Fish.

She said: "Charlie really, really needs this transplant.

"He's going to have to keep having chemotherapy until we find a match.

"He was sent away first of all with a psychosomatic diagnosis and it took me nine months to get people to actually realise what was wrong.

"Now we need to find a donor. And soon. Really soon."

Signing up to the register is pain-free, it involves just a small swab being taken from the inside of your cheek.

About 500 people, aged between 18-55, joined the register in Old Leigh. Volunteers also ran a half-marathon, finishing up at the swab site. And a flash mob of dancers also showed their support on the day.

Many more residents signed up to the register at Thundersley's Virgin Active Gym, on Thursday.

Gold Geese have been working to raise awareness of childhood cancer throughout September by going gold in Leigh's shops and businesses. A spokeswoman said: "We're making it our mission to support Charlie and his family and get people on the donor register."

For more information on joining the register, go to