Generous readers help Ben’s bike dream reality

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GENEROUS readers have dug deep to raise all the money to help buy six-year-old Ben Harcourt-Allen his dream trike.

Last week we featured Ben’s story and how his family desperately wanted to be able to get him a made-to-measure tricycle so that he could fulfil his ambition to ride a bike.

Ben suffers from spastic diplegia and had been measured for a special tricycle that will help keep his feet on the pedals – but it cost £1,232 and mum Joanne was hoping for support to try to buy it.

Last week the donations rolled in – with readers raising £462 between them and the Spalding Lions teaming up with us to finish off the fundraising bid.

We had already pledged £600 last week from the Lincolnshire Free Press Children’s Fund to get the ball rolling.

Joanne, of Bourne Road, said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by it all to be honest. There are some really wonderful people out there.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable, especially in the current climate.

“Ben’s really really excited and we really want to say thank you.”

One of the donations was a cheque for £300, from a reader who wished to remain anonymous, and £65 came from Rod Clarke, who wanted to give the money in memory of his wife, a foster parent who died recently.

He said: “I just thought it would be a mark of respect. That story really touched me and I just hope he can join in on the fun and games now.”

Dennis Wilkinson, of Spalding Lions, said: “We do a lot of fundraising in Spalding and we like to spend the money in Spalding.

“It’s a really good cause and we are delighted to be able to help Ben.”

St John’s Primary School, which Ben attends, will put on further fundraising events and Joanne says she wants to help them in their bid to get a laptop computer for Ben to help with his writing.

She will now be able to order the trike, which should arrive in about four weeks.

Spastic diplegia is a form of Cerebral Palsy and leaves Ben unable to walk unaided. For about two years he has had botox treatment in his legs which has helped him to take a few steps, something his family thought impossible.

His physiotherapist told him about the tricycle, which supports his legs so that he can keep his feet on the pedals.