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A brave two-year-old boy from Strood in Kent has received an extra special delivery – a specialist car seat – just in time for Christmas.

Freddie Ashby suffered seizures at birth and has a neurological movement disorder. He needs support when he is sitting and can only take a few steps at a time so wears a helmet to minimise head injuries.

The specialist car seat will give him the postural support he needs to keep him comfortable when travelling and its turntable base will enable his parents to get him in and out of the car more easily. This is particularly important as Freddie will shortly be wearing splints on both legs. The car seat will minimise health and safety concerns and has plenty of growing room.

Mum Dee Ashby said: “Freddie suffers muscle spasms which cause him to arch his back. When that is happening it is very difficult to see to his needs and keep him comfortable in a standard car seat. Having this new equipment will make life a lot easier for his dad and I – and safer and more comfortable for Freddie.

“Getting this in time for Christmas will mean he will be much happier about visiting family and friends during the holiday period.”

Newlife is the largest single provider of specialist car seats around the UK, having invested more than £1.6million in the safety of disabled and terminally ill children. This is because local authorities do not have a statutory obligation to supply this equipment; instead, families can apply for a medical exemption certificate which allows their children to be transported unsecured.

However, Newlife believes that the safety of disabled children is as important as the in-vehicle security of able-bodied youngsters and is currently campaigning for a change in the law. In the meantime, the charity continues to support families through provision.

Newlife provides a wide range of specialist equipment for babies, children and young people across the UK; this year alone, the charity has invested £43,996 in 26 Equipment Grants to improve the daily lives of disabled youngsters in Kent. In addition, the charity 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 (totalling £2,088,105); 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 specialist equipment for children in Kent, 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 in Kent will be used to fund equipment for children in the county.

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

Pictured: Freddie Ashby