"My mission in life was to cure him and I couldn’t but I can still do this."

These are the words of Toni Ilsley, a mum who set up a dog day care centre in memory of her son Charlie who passed away weeks before Christmas last December.

Charlie Ilsley from Emmer Green, Caversham, was battling medulloblastoma, a high-grade brain tumour which he had been diagnosed with at the age of eight.

With the help of the Reading Chronicle's fundraising efforts, the 13-year-old was able to fly to Mexico for treatment in June but a follow-up scan showed a “small progression” in Charlie’s spine and a little area in the back of his head.

READ MORE: 'I didn't want Charlie to be forgotten': Mum sets up dog care business following tragic death of son

Reading Chronicle:

Charlie had undergone countless operations and even more hospital trips to help rid him of this cancer but he sadly passed away on December 12, 2020.

During his time out in Mexico, he visited a ranch which had rescued dogs and from there he knew he always wanted to look after them.

So in his memory, Toni set up a dog daycare business called Charlie's Place so his name will never be forgotten.

Reading Chronicle:

She said: "I am still doing something. My mission in life was to cure him and I couldn’t but I can still do this. It’s so painful that you can’t hide it, you just can’t but it’s the way it is, it’s what happens when you lose a child especially at 13. These guys here take my mind of it, and when I shut the door of Charlie's Place and people say Charlie’s Place it keeps his memory going. That's why I'm standing.

"I knew that we did everything we could. There's also going to be days where I'm not okay, I'm not going to lie it is very tough, every morning and every night I cry and it's going to be like that probably forever but I get through the day - you get through it. That's how painful it is still but you just have to come here, open the place up, cuddle the doggies."

Reading Chronicle:

ALSO READ: 'Making a difference': Chronicle's Charlie campaign scoops an award

"Not only am I keeping his name alive, looking after dogs, employing people, helping charities, like I just want to keep that momentum going. I think that's the worst thing almost as bad as losing Charlie is maybe him being forgotten so he deserves to be remembered. That's just my aim in life is to just get his name out there and people talking about his place."

Charlie's Place takes on dozens of dogs each day from small Dachshunds to large Labradoodles.

The centre in Sonning Common is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday with Toni also looking after dogs at her home in the evenings.

Reading Chronicle:

She explained how Charlie would have reacted if he was alive today.

"I would give anything for him to walk through those doors right now. He would have loved it here and I love that I'm doing it for him. He would be in this room with all of these dogs on top of him and then he would say 'that's it I'm going to play my Xbox now' and for the next 12 hours we would see him again.

"I mean in Mexico he absolutely loved the dogs and it wasn't just dogs, it would have been anything he wanted like llamas, he wanted a horse or a parrot. But I think just above his dog was his Xbox and his PlayStation so it would have been come cuddle all these [dogs] and then leave them to mum -typical boy but he did love his animals and he had a good little life. "

"He had happy memories during his life, he went all over the world. He went to Mexico, saw the pyramids, he was in an earthquake, I mean who gets to be an earthquake? Not many people! He's seen a number dolphins, we went to Cologne, we stayed in Germany for six months we stayed in Turkey in Ankara. I don't think he suffered at all and he did have some good days but you know unfortunately it was all treatment based.

"We made sure everyday was good for him."

Visit Charlie's Place for more information.