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Fabulous fundraisers at Bury St Edmunds’ Abbey Rotary Club have come to the aid of local boy Jonathan Phipps, who urgently needs a specialist lightweight all-terrain buggy so he can get out and about in the Suffolk countryside.

The club contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children after the charity launched a local appeal to help eight-year-old Jonathan, from Denham. Members contributed the outstanding £1,273 needed after the appeal attracted initial donations from local donors of £830.

Newlife Head of Operations Stephen Morgan said: “We are enormously grateful for this support from Bury St Edmunds Abbey Rotary Club, which means we can react to Jonathan’s situation to get the equipment to him when he really needs it.”

Now Jonathan, who has a neurological condition combined with epilepsy, will soon be getting his passport to the great outdoors.

Mum Carol Phipps said: “We are an outdoorsy family and Jonathan likes nothing more than getting out and about to local National Trust properties and off-road events like festivals and the Suffolk Show. But it is getting more and more difficult to manoeuvre Jonathan around in his wheelchair – and doing things like this will only get harder as he gets older.”

Jonathan has little independent mobility so it is really important that he is properly positioned to help prevent his spine from curving, causing further pain.

With no local statutory funding available for a lightweight all-terrain buggy, the family turned to Newlife Foundation, the UK’s leading charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

Carol said: “The buggy is a third of the weight of Jonathan’s wheelchair – and offer him all the postural support he needs, especially during and following a seizure – so it would mean he could enjoy more trips out to a greater variety of places.”

With applications for help up 25 per cent on last year, Newlife is calling on local people to help support local children. Newlife’s Stephen Morgan said: “With growing demands and limited budgets, statutory services around the UK are increasingly unable to fully support the number of children with disabilities and terminal illness. That’s why we are looking to bridge the ever-widening gap – with the public’s help.”

To find out more about how Newlife supports children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county, go to:


Pictured: President of Bury St Edmunds Abbey Rotary Club Richard Curtis with Newlife’s Deputy Community Fundraising Manager Chris Fielding.