THE Bognor Regis Observer’s front page story highlighting little Toby Booker’s need for a £40,000 operation has attracted wide support.
Reading the news about the six-year-old and the launch of the Help Toby Run With His Friends campaign prompted Bognor Regis town mayor Jeanette Warr to make it her good cause for the year.
Cllr Mrs Warr, 78, of Berkeley Court, The Esplanade, said: “As far as I am concerned, if we can enable this child to actually join in with is companions, how wonderful that would be.
“He has to have this operation in a certain time, so urgency is required. It is going to make an enormous difference to him and not only for him, but for his whole family, as they are all affected by the situation.
“It is hard, there are so many children in the news who are that young who need help, but this is a local boy and it is our privilege to help him.”
Toby Booker, of Havelock Road, Bognor Regis, finds it difficult to walk due to cerebral palsy. The Observer campaign is supporting parents Ian and Jess Booker’s fundraising efforts to enable Toby to have a selective dorsal rhizotomy operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Cllr Mrs Warr said: “I read about Toby in the Observer and I thought I should get on to the job straightaway. I thought this is more important than anything, it is a child, just six years old.
“I have already organised a charity evening with silent auction on September 25. That will be for invited guests and it is a solid booking. That is my main event so far.
“I am hoping to encourage Scouts, Guides, Sea Cadets, pubs, basically smaller organisations, to organise fundraising events, too, and I would be happy to attend if they invite me.”
If you would like to invite the mayor to attend a function, send a completed Mayoral Engagement Form to Mrs Heather Knight, Bognor Regis Town Council, The Town Hall, Clarence Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO21 ILD, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01243 867744. The form is available on the website www.bognorregis.gov.uk or from the Town Hall.
Mr and Mrs Booker said they were grateful to hear the news that Cllr Mrs Warr was supporting Toby and they had received a personal telephone call from her to reveal the news.
Toby said he did not mind all the attention and people in the town had recognised him from seeing him in the Observer.
They are hoping to raise the money needed within 12 to 18 months, as the ideal time for the operation will be when Toby is eight years old. Fundraising currently stands at around £3,200.
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.