Brothers have had the best possible start

Salisbury Journal: Father Chris Hiller and mother Cassie Orman with sons Seth and George Hiller and their grandmother Alison Sewell. DC4620P1 Father Chris Hiller and mother Cassie Orman with sons Seth and George Hiller and their grandmother Alison Sewell. DC4620P1

TWIN brothers Seth and George Hiller have been able to start their school days together thanks to the John McNeill Opportunity Centre in Salisbury.

George has Down’s syndrome and Seth doesn’t, but they have both got the best start in life because of the John McNeill nursery.

Now the nursery is under threat due to Wiltshire Council’s decision to cut its funding by another £10,000.

The boys’ parents have spoken out to try to make the authorities realise the John McNeill Centre is a lifeline for local families with disabled children.

“I don’t know what we would have done without them,” said the boys’ mother Cassie Orman.

“They helped George’s speech and taught him to communicate so he can have the same chances as other children.

“He did all the activities you would expect a nursery to offer and extra things like swimming and horse riding too.

“Everything was very sensory and met his needs. He was safe and happy there and the staff were wonderful.

“It breaks my heart they are cutting their funding because there is nowhere else like it in Salisbury.”

The boys’ father Chris Hiller added: “The council should see the work they do there.

“We’re not talking about numbers on a piece of paper it’s about the most vulnerable children’s lives.

“There will always be other children like George, why should they miss out and not have the same opportunities he had?”

Both boys are now happily settled at Manor Fields School in Salisbury where George has a specialist teaching assistant.

“We are certain he would not have been able to go to that school if he hadn’t been to the John McNeill Centre first,” said Mr Hiller.

“The council needs to stop making these cuts and think about the people they are hurting.”

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