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Ten-year-old Summer Lilley, from Chigwell in Essex, has Down Syndrome. Due to her disability, Summer has no understanding of danger, so when travelling in the car she didn’t understand that undoing her seatbelt and pulling on the door handles was putting herself and others at risk. She really needed a specialist car seat to keep her safe and secure.


Mum Jane Lilley said: “Summer is quite small for her age so she was able to slip her arms out of the straps on a standard car seat. She has a lot of medical appointments to get to and although we don’t have to travel far – anything could happen – and we found that out not so long ago when we were hit by another car from behind.”


Now, thanks to funds raised by fashion chain store River Island, Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, has provided Summer with a specialist car seat that will keep her safe and secure in the car.


River Island is supporting Newlife through a ‘fantastic plastic’ initiative, donating the profit from the sale of its 5p carrier bags – from every store in the UK – to the charity, specifically to fund vital equipment like Summer’s.


Jane said: “Since having the new car seat, Summer seems much happier and contented in the car. She hasn’t tried to undo the buckle or get out of the straps and it has given me more confidence to go on longer journeys with her.”


Newlife’s head of Charity Operations, Stephen Morgan said: “It’s great that we could help Summer, but right now Newlife has another 26 disabled and terminally ill children in Essex who are in need of specialist equipment and we need to raise £21,863 to help them too.”


He added: “We really want to help these children, so we are calling on local individuals, groups, clubs and companies to get involved and support them. If you think you could help by donating or fundraising, please visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk/essex. Alternatively, contact a member of the team on 01543 462777 or email local@newlifecharity.co.uk.

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