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Three-year-old Harry Marklew is getting the specialist equipment he needs to sleep safely, thanks to fabulous fundraisers at Central England Co-operative.

Harry, from Kings Heath in Birmingham, has a genetic disorder that causes developmental delay and autistic tendencies. He also has weakness in his lower limbs and poor feeding and swallowing function. With no sense of danger, he likes to climb – which has its own risks.

When he outgrew his baby cot, Harry’s parents bought a hospital-style bed for him to sleep in; they hoped its profiling feature would help prevent him choking. But the adult-sized equipment was too big and too far off the ground – and he was in danger of falling out and hurting himself. So in recent months Harry has been sleeping on a mattress on the floor, surrounded by a play pen to stop him climbing.

With no funding for a specialist safe sleeping environment available through local statutory services, the family turned to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help. Newlife, based in Cannock, is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. For the past three years, it has been the staff-elected charity of Central England Co-operative. Colleagues and customers have now raised more than £1million for the charity, helping to fund equipment for more than 430 children in the retailer’s trading area.

Harry’s mum Rebecca Marklew – who is due to have a series of operations herself in 2016 – said: “I need to know that Harry has somewhere to sleep where he is comfortable and secure. At the moment he keeps pushing his playpen outwards and ends up sleeping on the floor. With the new SafeSpace Cosyfit bed provided through Newlife, he won’t be able to put himself in danger by climbing and he will have a comfortable bed, which can be propped up at one end to help reduce the risk of choking.”

Newlife has previously provided similar equipment for Harry’s five-year-old brother Ronnie, who has the same condition.

For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to:

Pictured: Harry Marklew