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FUNDRAISING APPEAL TO HELP LITTLE EXPLORER ROSS

A fundraising appeal has been launched to buy a simple piece of equipment which will allow a Northallerton boy to explore the outdoors.

Identical twin Ross Tulloch, who will turn four on July 22, has Cerebral Palsy and is unable to sit or stand independently so requires a manual wheelchair.

Ross, his twin brother Finn and their older brother Patrick, 6, love the outdoors and long to be able to explore the countryside around their home together.

However, Ross’ manual wheelchair is bulky and heavy and can only cope with flat, even surfaces making it impossible for him to enjoy many outdoor activities.

An all terrain buggy would give Ross and his parents, Arran and Lucy, the freedom to discover the outdoors and the North Yorkshire Moors. But statutory services will not fund the £2,267 piece of equipment.

The cost prompted the family to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife has funded 159 Equipment Grants for children in North Yorkshire, totalling £167,484.

Dad Arran said Ross is particularly keen to get out and have more fun with his beloved pet dog Tay.

He said: “This three wheeler buggy really would open up a world of opportunities for Ross.

“We are quite an outdoorsy family so it would be wonderful to be able to get out and spend quality time together.

“Ross has a wheelchair which in many ways is brilliant and is very supportive but it can only be used on flat, even surfaces and is no good on grass or gravel. You simply cannot move it.

“This buggy would allow us to get out more and would allow Ross to have more fun with Tay who he absolutely loves. Tay is his favourite thing to play with – he even loves it when Tay gets told off.”

In the past Ross went out in a specialist all terrain buggy which Arran managed to find on eBay for £90. However, he has now outgrown the equipment.

He said: “The buggy Newlife is trying to fund is actually made by the same company as the old one, so we know that this is just what Ross needs.

“I actually found it on eBay and snapped it up for £90 which was an absolute bargain but was a complete one-off.

“Trying to fund something that costs £2,267 is completely different, especially when we have so many other specialist items we need to buy for feeding, sleeping, etc.”

Mr Tulloch added statutory services were unable to fund the equipment because they had already bought Ross his wheelchair.

However, he said a buggy is equally important for Ross to enjoy activities most people take for granted.

Mr Tulloch added: “When Ross is at nursery they often want to take the children outside and go on walks so he needs the buggy for that as well as the fun things we want to get up to as a family at the weekends.”

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As cutbacks continue to bite into local authority budgets we can expect to see applications for Newlife equipment services continue to rise.

“As a charity we are looking increasingly to ‘local heroes’ to help us help children in individual counties – and Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in North Yorkshire can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for Ross and other disabled and terminally ill children within the county boundary.”

If you would like to raise money to help fund a mobility buggy for Ross, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.

Pictured: Ross & Tay

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