It looks like the Katherine Appeal is going to hit its target this year after an amazing £85,000 donation from Katherine's grandma.

Mrs Winifred Stirling, aged 94 and known as "Pud", had always said she wished she could help Katherine, and when she heard of a house equity release scheme, she decided immediately to sign up. Under the deal, she received half the cash value of her home near Lymington, and no repayments are necessary until after her death. Katherine and her brother Oliver are her only grandchildren.

Katherine's father Nigel said the family was absolutely delighted. He added that they had gone through periods of great depression wondering whether they would ever raise the £154,000 for his daughter's operation in the USA.

He said the £85,000 has made all the difference and the end is now in sight, with only £37,000 left to find. The family is hoping to book the operation this year. They believe the pioneering brain surgery will cure Katherine's severe epilepsy.

Meanwhile a Frimley Green osteopath is helping by providing his services free after Oliver developed knee and back problems when training for a fund-raising marathon.

The marathon, setting out from the Star's offices, has been postponed until Sunday, June 9, to let Oliver's knee heal.

Osteopath Alex Watson has been practising in Frimley Green for over two years, using massage and manipulation to ease pain anywhere in the body.

When he heard about Oliver's problems, he was happy to help.

Oliver said: "I first got the injury while I was ironing a shirt and I literally could not move for a day. But after Alex manipulated some of the muscles in my back, all the pain went within two days.

"Then I damaged my knee and Alex has been treating me for free. I am feeling much less pain now." Alex can be contacted on 01276 708954.

Also helping the appeal is the managing director of The Gemini Group of Companies in Deadbrook Lane, Aldershot, who is to do a triathlon. David Harsant is 56 and has never done any competitive sports, but has been training to complete the Fleet Triathlon on May 6, Bank Holiday Monday. It consists of a 400 metre swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in less than four hours.

David's firm employs over 80 people and he is hoping to raise £1500 for Katherine.

The Frimley Lodge Miniature Railway also helped out last Sunday (April 28) with the proceeds of its 50p rides going to the appeal.

Finally, two men are taking part in the London to Brighton cycle ride with sponsorship going to the appeal.To contact the Katherine Appeal or make a donation, call 01252 836880 or write to the Kendall family at 10 Chartwell, Frimley Green, Camberley, Surrey, GU16 6HW.