A LITTLE boy from Edmonsham is close to being able to get about by himself after generous panto-goers dug deep to raise a whacking £1,335 for his walker.
Two-year-old Olly Reid has cerebral palsy, along with a range of other health conditions, and needs a Kidwalk to be able to get around. The equipment, made by Leckey, costs upwards of £1,500 and when Verwood Pantomime Society heard about him they nominated his cause as the fundraiser for their after-show collections.
Last year £800 was raised, and panto chairman Sue Gardiner says the cast were “overwhelmed” with the response this year.
“We’ve never had £20 notes put in our collecting buckets before,” she said. “But this year we had several.
“Everybody was really touched by a local boy needing a piece of very important equipment. It was amazing - we were overwhelmed by the amount.
“We sold out most nights this year, and had such good feedback. Now we start planning for next year. It’ll be the 30th so it’ll be a special one.”
Olly’s parents Charlotte, 31, and Chris, 30, have been given some help over the last two years, from charities like the Fordingbridge-based Sarah Kinsley Fund, which helps where the NHS and other authorities don’t. The fund bought him a standing frame.
But it has been a struggle to get the little boy everything that could help him lead a more comfortable life. The Kidwalk would last him until the age of about seven or eight.
Mrs Reid said: “He really needs a very supportive frame and when we trialled the Kidwalk he was able to take some steps.”
Olly now attends Julia’s House respite sessions and goes to the Blandford Children’s Centre, where his mother works.
She said: “We knew that Olly was going to have lots of difficulties straight away when he was born.
“They initially told us he probably wasn’t going to survive - it’s been a wait and see game.
“But he’s doing much better than they thought, and he’s quite a happy little chap.”
Details of an official fundraising website will be published in the Journal soon.