Latest Newlife News


Fabulous fundraisers at Central England Co-operative stores – including those across Derbyshire – have set a new target of £1.5million to help local disabled and terminally ill children.

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children has been Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity since May 2012. £1.2million has already been raised – helping to buy specialist equipment for more than 520 children across the retailer’s trading area – and now the partnership is being extended so more local families can benefit.

Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said: “Our partnership with Newlife has been extremely successful. The dedication of the Society’s colleagues, members and customers has meant that we have been able to raise a significant amount of money and build a strong relationship along the way. As a community retailer and responsible business, it has been great to know that every penny raised as part of this charity campaign has gone to improve the lives of families in our trading area.”

Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, added: “This has been an amazing partnership, helping us to support so many in urgent need. Without this level of support from Central England Co-operative some of these children would have gone without the equipment altogether and many more would have had to wait months or even years just for an assessment of their needs. I would like to thank everyone at Central England Co-operative for their renewed support, which will continue to make such a difference to young lives.”


Fabulous fundraisers at Central England Co-operative stores in Derbyshire are helping an 11-year-old from Chesterfield get a powered wheelchair so she can make the most of school life.

Eleanor Thistlethwaite has a form of Cerebral Palsy that is characterised by frequent spasms and muscle tensing, affecting mobility. She also has microcephaly and some developmental delays.

Eleanor has just transitioned from a small primary school and is now a pupil at the much larger Lady Manners School in Bakewell. She is currently using a manual wheelchair to get around, but a multi-agency team including representatives from both primary and secondary schools as well as her occupational therapist and physiotherapist have recommended she now needs a powered chair.

Mum Sara Thistlethwaite said: “Her existing wheelchair is quite cumbersome and Eleanor suffers from fatigue; she just doesn’t have the strength or stamina to be able to self-propel it all day around her new comprehensive school – the site is enormous. When she comes home she is absolutely shattered.”

Unfortunately, there is no funding available from local statutory services for a powered wheelchair for Eleanor, so the family contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help with the £4,233 cost. The family has contributed more than £500 and now funding from Central England Co-operative is enabling Newlife to make up the difference.

Eleanor said: “I am really looking forward to using my new wheelchair at school and it makes me feel happy that I can spend time on my own with my sister, doing things such as going into town.”

Sara said: “Independence is very important to any child and Eleanor is no different. Just being able to go from classroom to classroom without the help of a teaching assistant will help shape her friendships in school and the fact that she won’t be so tired will help her concentrate better on her academic work.

“Eleanor can’t wait to get the new wheelchair. It will enable her to do so much more with her sister too. Isobel is 14 and they want the opportunity to be able to go off to the cinema together, or on the bus into town. The current wheelchair is too heavy for Isobel to be able to push very far, so they have been restricted to what they can do together without mum and dad.”

Bruce Ledger, manager at Central England Co-operative’s Wardgate Way, Holme Hall, convenience store in Chesterfield, said: “Central England Co-operative takes fundraising to help local communities very seriously, and we are committed to making a positive impact in the local areas in which we trade. Working with Newlife has provided a great opportunity for us to help make life easier for youngsters like Eleanor.”

To find out more about Newlife’s work in Derbyshire, go to: The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.

For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to:

Pictured: Eleanor Thistlethwaite