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Four-year-old Maisie Holmes will be able to indulge her fascination for fish – thanks to provision of a simple piece of specialist disability equipment funded by fabulous local fundraisers at Central England Co-operative.

Maisie, from Old Whittington near Chesterfield, has the neurological condition Rett Syndrome which results in physical and mental disability. She has limited mobility, relying on a wheelchair to get around over any distance.

Because of her condition, Maisie needs additional support while travelling but had outgrown her old car seat. Mum Claire Holmes said: “We still had to squeeze Maisie into it for vital journeys, like to the hospital, but it just wasn’t safe for her any more so we weren’t going out in the car much. Although she doesn’t weigh a lot she is tall for her age and the car seat straps cut into her shoulders; not only that, but it didn’t offer the postural support she needs to make it comfortable for long journeys.”

Through a disability support group, Claire found out about Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the largest charity funder of specialist equipment for under-19s with disabilities and terminal illness in the UK. She applied to Newlife for a grant for a £704 car seat.

Newlife is Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity. Colleagues and customers have raised more than £879,000 for Newlife; this has already helped in excess of 400 children with disabilities and terminal illness in the retailer’s trading area get the vital equipment they need, when they need it. Thanks to the partnership, Newlife was able to respond quickly to Claire’s application.

Claire said: “I would be really stuck without the new car seat, especially during the school holidays. It means I can get Maisie – and her brother and sister – out more. We have already been to The Deep in Hull; Maisie loves fish and we’ve now got a ticket which means we can go back as many times as we want. The car seat gives us the normality to do things without having to worry about Maisie’s safety.”

Neil Holmes, Manager of the Central England Co-operative convenience store in Littlemoor, Chesterfield, said: “As a regional retailer we always ensure that our staff-elected charity supports people in need in our trading area. We are delighted to have been able to help Maisie and her family in this way.”

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: Maisie Holmes