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Year two pupils at Five Ways Primary School in Heath Hayes have been getting crafty and designing ways to collect money to help a local teenager.

The children were set a challenge by their teachers to design and create their own money boxes, which they have been filling with loose change. The money – £168.15 – is going to help fund a lightweight wheelchair for 17-year-old Cannock schoolboy Samuel Asbury, through locally-based charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.

Samuel, who attends Chase Terrace Technology College, broke his back when he fell off his bike while on holiday with his family in 2009. He is now a full-time wheelchair user, but the model provided by statutory services is heavy and difficult to manoeuvre.

Mum Mandy Asbury said: “Samuel had surgery just before Christmas and was poorly after that. The wheelchair he has is not only heavy but is uncomfortable for him – but that was all that was available through local wheelchair services. His feet are constantly falling off the foot plate so we have to strap his legs onto the wheelchair; he really needs a model which will alleviate this problem and provide greater comfort, with a lower back plate.”

The wheelchair which best meets Samuel’s needs costs £3,164, so his parents approached Cannock-based national charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help with funding.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown said: “Equipment ‘enables’. It can mean the difference between comfort and pain, engagement or isolation, freedom or a worsening condition. Therefore, our equipment grants are vital to so many children, offering practical support to families. Equipment can range from beds and wheelchairs – like this one for Samuel – to specialist seating and communication aids. Equipment costing from hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can enhance a child’s life.”

Newlife has awarded £642,044 in equipment grants to 433 children in Staffordshire. But the charity is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up by 81 per cent. This is an average of 300 calls a week, with thousands more hits on the charity’s website

“Because of the huge demand,” said Sheila, “we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help us raise money to fund equipment in Staffordshire. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to support disabled children in the area.”

If you think you can help, 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.

Any money raised in excess of Samuel’s needs will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in the county.

Pictured: Newlife Foundation community relations officer Heather Campbell with, from left, Five Ways Primary School pupils Todd Alcock, Keane Parker, Lizzie Toon and Ella-Grace Longdon (all aged seven). 

Pictured: Samuel Asbury, aged 17.

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