‘Completely overwhelmed’ by response to Bognor relief road walk

ABOUT 250 people took the opportunity to be the first to walk across the new Bognor relief road on Sunday.

The special charity Viaduct Walk was in aid of Help Toby Run With His Friends, a campaign being supported by the Observer series.

DM15113908a Toby Booker joins walkers for the fundraising walk

DM15113908a Toby Booker joins walkers for the fundraising walk

The aim is to raise funds for a life-changing SDR operation, costing £40,000, to help seven-year-old Toby Booker, who has cerebral palsy.

Organiser Liz Lawrence, a close friend of the family, said she was ‘completely overwhelmed’ by the response.

“The atmosphere was great. The weather held out, with only a few raindrops at the end.

“Toby was amazing and walked over the viaduct twice. People’s generosity was fantastic. We not only had people who had previously bought tickets but also people who heard it on Spirit FM and so came on down. Also, people who were out walking saw us, so went home, got their money and came back to do the walk – just brilliant.

DM15113941a The campaign is to raise �40,000 for an SDR operation for Toby

DM15113941a The campaign is to raise �40,000 for an SDR operation for Toby

“Chloe Humphrey, from Chloe’s New Legs, was sponsored and she walked over it four times.”

Liz said today that more than £3,000 had been raised already, but there were still donations to collect so the final total would be higher.

Toby lives in Havelock Road, Bognor Regis, with dad Ian, mum Jess and brother Harry.

Ian thanked Liz for organising the walk and said the fund total currently stands at just over £27,000.

As well as the walk on Sunday, there was a West Side Story concert in the evening, which was a sell-out.

Ian said: “It was an amazing evening and was very well received by the audience – they were all on their feet. There was also a raffle, programme sales and donations. Many thanks to Matt Greaves, Kate Bennett and The Regis Centre.”

The next big event is a family fun day at Funtington Primary School on Saturday, from 11am to 5pm. There is face painting, a silent auction, raffle with good prizes, teddy tombola, donkey rides, hog roast, bouncy castle and giant slide, entertainment from Damiain Lodrick Band and Knightstar Youth Productions, art and craft stalls and much more.

Ian hinted: “There may even be something special for avid Formula One fans!”

SDR is not a cure for cerebral palsy. Reduction in spasticity is immediately apparent after the procedure but it takes time for the strength in the legs to return. Through the physiotherapy programme, Toby will learn to use his body in a new way.

Visit www.gofundme.com/skc58k to make a donation online, or cheques can be made payable to Toby Booker SDR and sent to the Observer, c/o Elaine Hammond, Chichester Observer, City Gate, Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8DQ.

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