It’s a wheelie great gift for courageous Holbeach girl Charlotte (12)

Charlotte Porter tries out her new wheels watched by David Enser, Chris Perkins, David Gordon, mum Amy Portor, Phil Tidman, Gill Tidman and Ray Perkins. SG241116-100TW

Charlotte Porter tries out her new wheels watched by David Enser, Chris Perkins, David Gordon, mum Amy Portor, Phil Tidman, Gill Tidman and Ray Perkins. SG241116-100TW

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A brave Holbeach girl who is battling three serious heart conditions is overjoyed now she has a mobility scooter to get around.

Charlotte Portor (12) has had open heart surgery five times and is still convalescing from her most recent spell in hospital, which involved a six-hour operation at Great Ormond Street.

Because of her heart problems and a lung condition, Charlotte has low energy levels and becomes breathless while walking so her nan, Vanessa Wilkinson-Church, bought a second-hand mobility scooter which has had a complete, £200 overhaul thanks to East Elloe Lions.

Mum Amy said: “She loves it and her little sister, Rachel (5), likes going on it with her.”

As well as open heart surgery, Charlotte has had 16 other heart procedures and faces many more in years to come.

“She is such a brave girl,” said Amy. “She does ever so well. She just takes it in her stride when she has to have an operation and she makes me worry less because of how brave she is. I am absolutely panicking all of the time and I cry a lot but Charlotte says ‘I am going to be okay, we will get through this’.”

Single mum Amy works as a mobile hairdresser but has to drop everything while Charlotte is in hospital.

She is delighted that Charlotte has the mobility scooter because it will give her a greater degree of independence, allowing her to visit school friends when she wants.

Charlotte is a pupil at University Academy Holbeach but, while she’s convalescing, she will attend school at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.

She has bravely fought heart problems since she was a baby.

Amy said: “She can’t do what other children can do – she can’t go on a fairground ride, that sort of thing.”

East Elloe Lions heard about Charlotte through Vanessa, who works in the pharmacy at Long Sutton Medical Centre.

Lion David Enser said Vanessa had acquired the scooter but it needed a lot of work and the Lions arranged for it to have a complete overhaul at Seth and Sons at Fleet Hargate.

The Lions got together to present the scooter, complete with a Lions badge and a cuddly Lion soft toy, to Charlotte on Thursday at Vanessa’s home in Long Sutton.

“It’s something that, as a Lions Club, we like to do,” said David. “Charlotte can walk around in the house but if she goes too far she becomes breathless.”

• Is there someone you know who is as brave as Charlotte? Or do you know of someone who has an inspiring story to tell?

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