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A simple piece of specialist equipment will open up a world of opportunities for sisters Lily and Willow Bamber from Haverhill in Suffolk.

Lily, aged five, and Willow, 17 months, both have a progressive neurological condition. Lily has lost the ability to walk unaided and is only fully independent when crawling as she needs supervision while using a walking frame. And while Willow can now take a few steps, her parents are unsure what the future holds.

Mum Michelle is currently using a standard double buggy to get them both out and about – but Lily is outgrowing the equipment. The girls need a specialist double buggy so they can continue to be taken out together; this is particularly important for the daily school run.

However, local statutory services are unable to provide this equipment, costing £599, so the family has turned to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help.

Mum Michelle Bamber said: “Without a specialist buggy we soon won’t be able to get out of the house at all. Lily is going though a really good period at the moment so she is able to walk short distances with help but that can change daily. As Willow has been diagnosed with the same condition we need to look ahead and get a piece of equipment that will accommodate both girls over the next couple of years as they grow.”

Newlife provides specialist equipment for babies, children and young people across the UK; in 2013/14 alone the charity invested £2,088,105 in 1,303 Equipment Grants to improve the daily lives of disabled youngsters. In addition it offers an emergency equipment loan service for families of life-limited children, aiming to deliver support within 72 hours.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Demand on our practical support services is growing. We awarded 33 per cent more Equipment Grants around the UK in 2013/14 than the previous year; as a result, we are increasingly calling on ‘local heroes’ to help fund vital specialist equipment for children in their own areas.”

If you would like to donate or raise money to help fund the specialist buggy for Lily and Willow, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on 0800 988 4640 (free from UK landlines). Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.

Newlife operates a social enterprise business which covers the costs of its core services; because of this the charity guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised will be used to fund the equipment for the girls. Any surplus money raised will be used to provide equipment for other disabled and terminally ill children in Suffolk.

To find out more about the range of equipment grant and loan support services offered by the charity, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines) or email

Pictured: Lily & younger sister Willow