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With his new special buggy, 20-month-old Sebastian from Torquay is able to go out and about with his family in comfort and safety getting the essential postural support he needs.

When you are asked to pay five pence for a carrier bag in a store have you ever wondered what happens to the money? Well, in the case of River Island outlets – like the one on 42-44 Union Street, Torquay- all profits from sales of carrier bags are donated to national charity Newlife.

Sebastian Cross is one of the children to benefit from this life-changing nationwide initiative. He is now able to be taken outside of the family home in a comfortable and safe position, creating more social opportunities for the family.

Sebastian has an undiagnosed condition, however this has resulted in him having hypotonia which affects his muscles. He has no head control and is unable to sit unaided – so he needs special seating to support his posture. He was in need of a specialist buggy as his previous one was a standard high street model that offered him no support.

Mum Melody Cross said: “Sebastian’s old buggy was not good for him at all, we would not take him out too often as it did not offer him any postural support. The buggy was just not comfortable for him. Sebastian is tube fed every three and a half hours with a pump which we can put in a rucksack and take with us to feed him when we’re out and about. In his old buggy Sebastian would slump to one side during feeds and obviously was not in a good position.”

Newlife helped provide Sebastian with a specialist £1,780 buggy. Local Wheelchair Services have contributed £793, Newlife received £144.62 from fabulous donors leaving a remaining amount of 842.38 which was funded with bag levy funds from River Island.

Melody added: “To allow Sebastian to get used to the more structured seating system we are gradually increasing the amount of time he spends in it each day. He is now in a more comfortable and safe position for feeding on the go and is much happier in a more upright position.”

Newlife Foundation CEO Sheila Brown added: “As local authority budget cuts continue to bite, more and more families are turning to charities like Newlife for specialist equipment which can help transform young lives. Having the national support of River Island is an enormous boost for us.”

She added: “Anyone struggling to access equipment through their statutory services should call our Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) to discuss their individual situation.”

Newlife has funded specialist equipment for 297 children in the Devon, worth over £400,000. If you think you could help a child in the county, go to for further details.

If you would like to find out more about Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and how to access its services, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline or go to


Pictured: Sebastian Cross