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A leading children’s disability charity is looking for a local hero who can help ten-year-old Grace Hitchens maintain her health and give her new opportunities to join in activities with her twin sister.

Grace, from the Gilstead area of Bingley, has a neurodegenerative condition which has started to affect her mobility. She is no longer able to walk unaided, but can stand with support. While Grace has access to a specialist standing frame at school she doesn’t have this vital equipment at home – and her consultant has recommended increased use to help her maintain the mobility she still has.

Being able to stand will also mean she can take part in more home-based family activities like baking, which is a favourite pastime of Grace’s.

There is no funding available from statutory services for the £2,079 standing frame for Grace, so her family turned to Newlife Foundation – the UK’s largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – for help.

Newlife has already spent more than £348,000 on specialist equipment for children in West Yorkshire. However, with applications to Newlife up 25 per cent on last year, the charity is increasingly looking to ‘local heroes’ to help fund vital equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness in their own counties.

Unfortunately, a media appeal featured in the Telegraph and Argus to help Grace did not receive any support – and now Newlife Foundation is hoping a local benefactor will step forward to help.

Grace’s mum Fiona Dunne said: “Grace loves to be upright – it gives her more access to play with other children including her twin sister Emily. At the moment they can only play together on the floor; having the standing frame would mean they could do many more things, like baking, together.” She added: “The condition is degenerative and it is only in the last year that Grace has found it difficult to walk. This standing frame is very flexible, and as her condition deteriorates further it will continue to support her, reclining as necessary. She would benefit from having her own standing frame for a long time as it would help maintain her health and what mobility she still has.”

If you would like to help Grace, go to, read her story and click on the ‘Donate Now’ button. Alternatively you can contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444 or email

Pictured: Grace Hitchens