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A panto performance of Snow White at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham has brought New Year joy to the family of local disabled boy Jude Grainger-Southall.

The performance – on Thursday 31 October – raised £581 for Staffordshire-based charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.

Snow White, which had a successful three-night run, was staged by Midlands Co-operative Society Repertory Company. Newlife Foundation is Midlands Co-operative Society’s staff elected charity and fundraising events around the region since May 2012 have raised more than £397,707 to fund essential specialist equipment for 163 disabled and terminally ill children in the retailer’s trading area.

Retired Midlands Co-operative employee and MSC Repertory Company production director Sheila Palmer said: “We are a small company but we have big ideas and we really wanted to do something special for Newlife. The cast and our audiences thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic production, which was written by one of our members; we all had a great time helping to raise the £581. We are delighted that the money will be helping a local child and wish Jude and his family a very happy New Year.”

Money raised from the panto performance will fund a specialist buggy for five-year-old Jude from Oldbury.

Jude has cortical dysplasia, a congenital brain abnormality, which has resulted in severe and complex epilepsy and learning disabilities. He currently experiences around 20 to 30 seizures a day and needs a specialist buggy so his parents can get him out and about in the community in comfort and safety. Due to the cost of the equipment, mum Vicki Southall turned to Newlife Foundation for help.

Vicki said: “Jude has severe and complex epilepsy. He has tried numerous medications, a specialist diet, has already undergone one operation on his brain and is likely to need further surgery. Jude experiences numerous seizures a day, many of which cause him to fall or lose his balance. Although he is hyperactive by nature, when he has had a seizure he is extremely floppy and tired and often falls asleep. I can’t risk taking him out without a pushchair but he really needs specialist equipment to properly support his head and recline when he is recovering and keep him safe with a five-point harness.”

She added: “Until now we have provided everything that Jude needs, but we have to face the fact that we will be looking after him for the rest of his life – he will never be independent. Disability equipment is particularly expensive so we have asked Newlife Foundation for help.”

Newlife Foundation Fundraising Manager Nora Smith said: “I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the members of the repertory company who have helped to bring a little extra New Year joy to Jude’s family. Our partnership with Midlands Co-operative Society has so far meant 163 children in the region getting the vital specialist equipment they need to help them in their everyday lives. We are grateful for the enthusiasm, commitment and support of all Midlands Co-operative Society colleagues and customers who are helping to make a real difference.”

Pictured: Jude Grainger-Southall.

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