A SWARM of bees will be buzzing around Blenheim Palace later this month to thank hospital staff for getting a little ballerina back on her feet.

Five-year-old Beth Lee was born with a cleft palate, dislocated hips and breathing problems and doctors weren't sure she would ever walk properly.

But the Bicester youngster took up ballet in 2015 and after a successful hip operation last year is now dancing freely.

Her mum Julia Spargo - who runs the OX5 Run every year dressed as a bee - has recruited a swarm of 45 bees aiming to raise £5,000 for Oxford Children's Hospital.

She said: "Beth had a big operation on her hip in June last year and it's made a massive difference to her.

"Her walking has been so much better and she's roaming around lots more now - she's still doing her ballet and she loves it.

"When she was born we didn't know whether she would be able to do any of this but she's doing way better than anyone could imagine.

The 38-year-old added: "After the operation the surgeons were a bit taken aback by how excitable and grateful I was but it's just amazing."

Julia's bees could yet grow in number and she hoped to get 100 in total by the end of the month, including her husband Dave Lee who has confirmed he will be on the start line on Sunday, March 26.

The couple's eldest child Amalia, six, has also used the hospital after she was born with a kidney problem and had two operations.

Mrs Spargo said: "We have seen first hand what the money goes towards - both my children have been in the hospital and were lucky enough to have a purpose built children's hospital to use.

"It's a thank you to everyone who has looked after Beth and Amalia - but we won't ever be able to thank them enough.

"We have a great number of bees so far signed up - I think friends and family have seen just how much the operation has helped Beth and have joined the team."

The OX5 Run is being sponsored by recruitment firm Allen Associates for the ninth year.

Last year's event saw a record-breaking £115,000 raised, which has already been spent on a sensory room to educate and entertain children in its high dependency unit, equipment to stabilise premature babies and a specialist nurse for children with severe asthma.

People who want to take part can do so by signing up online by going to hospitalcharity.co.uk/ox5run.