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Eight-year-old Rebecca Penney from Runcorn urgently needs specialist walking equipment to help reduce pain in her hips – and a leading children’s disability charity is calling on ‘local heroes’ to help make this happen.

If you would like to support Rebecca, go to and click on the Donate button next to her story. The equipment costs £2,373. Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has supported 452 under-19s in Cheshire.

Rebecca, who lives in the Halton Lodge area of the town with her grandparents, has a complex condition including Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy and hydrocephalus. The family uses a special-needs buggy to get her out and about – so having a walking frame is Rebecca’s only opportunity to be independently mobile. Not only that, but specialists at Alderhey hospital have recommended she is kept mobile to help reduce hip pain and prevent further problems developing.

The family bought Rebecca’s first walking frame themselves and when she outgrew this Newlife stepped in, in 2014, with a suitable replacement. Now she is too big for this walker – and the family have returned it to be used in the charity’s innovative equipment recycling service. Which leaves Rebecca without a walking frame once again.

Grandma Denise Sothern said: “A new walking frame is something that Rebecca would use both at home and at school to support muscle development, improve her head and trunk control and aid digestion – all of which will help maintain her health and prevent new problems occurring. Not only that but it is Rebecca’s only opportunity to get around independently and join in with class activities and play with the children where we live. At the moment she just sits on the sidelines and you can see the frustration in her face, not understanding why she can’t join in.”

With no funding for this equipment available through local statutory services, Denise turned once again to Newlife for help. However, with UK-wide statutory funding cuts resulting in a 64 per cent increase in applications to Newlife over the past five years, the charity is more reliant on public support than at any time in its 25-year history.

So Newlife is looking for ‘local heroes’ to help fund this vital equipment. You can click on the website – – or, alternatively, contact the Newlife Supporter Relations Team on 01543 462777 or email

Any money raised over and above what is needed for Rebecca will be used to provide specialist equipment for other disabled and terminally ill children in Cheshire. The charity is currently working with a total of 19 families in the county with equipment needs totalling £42,598. One hundred per cent of all donations goes directly to provide equipment.

Pictured: Rebecca Penney