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Twelve-year-old William Edkins is getting the essential specialist equipment he needs, with help from fabulous local fundraisers who have supported the Newlife Local Wiltshire Fund.

William, from Mere, is getting a lightweight wheelchair so he won’t have to rely on other people to push him around all the time. He has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

William’s mum Karen Edkins said: “This will mean a lot of freedom for him – and not only that, the wheelchair has lots of additional support for his hips and pelvis after major surgery last year.”

Currently, William uses a cumbersome wheelchair provided by local statutory services. Karen said: “It is too big for him and he wobbles around in it. That’s not doing his posture any good and we are always worried that his hips could slip out of position. William has been in a lot of pain because of the wheelchair and when we go out he prefers to just stay in the car where he is more comfortable.”

William has had an opportunity to trial the new lightweight wheelchair which best meets his needs. Karen said: “He was racing with the occupational therapist around the hospital. It was fantastic – so good to see him sitting comfortably and enjoying himself.”

She added: “William is a smart cookie – and very verbal – so it will be a great opportunity for him to be able to get around under his own steam and not have to rely on other people all the time.”

Karen and her husband Jon turned for help to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children – the largest charity funder of specialist equipment for under-19s with disabilities or terminal illness in the UK.

Due to the growing need in the Wiltshire area, earlier this year the charity launched its Newlife Local Wiltshire Fund – specifically to help local children. And William is the first to benefit.

However, there are currently a further four children in Wiltshire waiting for specialist equipment totalling more than £9,000. To find out more, go to The website enables local people to find out who needs help in their county right now and highlights the support the charity gives families. It includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families.

Newlife has already helped 80 children in Wiltshire just like William through equipment grants and loans totalling more than £171,000, so we know there is a very real need for a specific county fund. In this way we aim to help more children, more quickly.

Pictured: William Edkins