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Eight-year-old Austin Keddie, from Lochfoot near Dumfries, has Cerebral Palsy affecting all four limbs, which means he is unable to move independently. He needs a specialist hoist so he can safely continue with a home therapy programme to ease muscle pain – and a leading children’s disability charity is calling on ‘local heroes’ to help make this happen.

The portable hoist he needs costs £1,945 and Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is working with the family. If you would like to support Austin in getting his equipment, go to and click on the Donate button next to his story.

Mum Carolyn Keddie said: “We have a spa therapy tub which Austin uses to relax his muscles; it helps manage his condition. This is particularly important during holiday-time when he can’t access the school hydrotherapy pool. The swimming pool in Dumfries has been closed for a long time and none of the other pools in the area are warm enough.”

Austin is currently manually lifted in and out of the tub, but this is becoming harder for the family and more dangerous for Austin as he gets bigger. “Soon,” said Carolyn, “it won’t be possible for him to use the tub at all. He’s very slippery when he’s wet and we’re becoming more and more concerned about dropping him.”

Having a portable hoist would also help the family go on holiday. Carolyn said: “Austin has a twin sister, Amber; it is becoming increasingly difficult to take them both away together because of the lack of on-site disability equipment. Having our own hoist, that we could take with us, would be a huge bonus.”

Newlife – the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – has previously supported Austin through provision of specialist seating and a mobile base for seating. Which is why the Keddies turned, once again, to the charity for help.

Newlife is currently receiving more Equipment Grant applications than at any time in its 25-year history, which is why public support is needed to help families caring for disabled and terminally ill children in Dumfries and Galloway.

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.

Any funds raised above what is needed for Austin will help pay for equipment for another child in Scotland.

Pictured: Austin Keddie