Pupils pull together to raise money for Chichester boy

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A Chichester schoolgirl is hoping people will give generously at an event she and her family have organised to help one of her friends take their first ever steps.

Caitlin Govan, seven, attends St Richard’s Catholic Primary School in Cawley Road, and is raising money for her friend Finley Fairs, six, so he can have a special operation.

Finley, who lives in Chichester, has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, which means the muscles in his legs are very tight, and as a result he cannot walk or run independently.

The only way this can be rectified is if he undergoes a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) which releases the tension in the legs and will allow Finley to walk for the very first time.

Since November, Finley’s parents have raised £9,000 towards the £24,000 operation which will change their son’s life. They still have a long way to go to reach their target and are trying to raise the remaining amount before the operation takes place later in the year at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol - the first hospital in Britain to offer SDR.

Caitlin and her family and a group of friends will be holding the coffee morning and bring and buy sale on Saturday at St Peter’s Church hall in East Wittering. The event will run from 10am until 1pm and will include a raffle with prizes donated by businesses from around Chichester.

Caitlin’s mother Marysia said: “It’s really all her idea, she suggested going round all the businesses and getting them to donate things. It’s nice because it’s a group of children doing something to help another child.”

Speaking about the fundraising drive, Finley’s mother Lydia said: “We can’t thank everyone who has helped so far enough, we are totally amazed at how generous people have been.

“We feel really close to giving Finley his dream but know that there is still a long way to go until the operation is guaranteed.

“Finley is at a fork in the road. If he has the SDR operation he has a great chance to walk independently. Without it he is going to end up being a full-time wheelchair user. It’s that simple.”

The Fairs family is being supported by national charity Caudwell Children, which is helping them raise the money needed.

Its chief executive officer Trudi Beswick said: “This type of operation has a proven track record of improving the lives of children with cerebral palsy and we are pleased to help try and raise the money they need.

“We need to raise a lot of money in a short period of time to give Finley the independence he deserves, so I urge anyone who may be able to help to contact the charity.”

If anyone is interested in helping the Fighting For Finley Appeal, please visit www.justgiving.com/fightingforfinley or call Caudwell Children: 01782 600114.

Anyone who would like to donate items to the bring and buy sale including cakes, nearly new clothes, raffle prizes and unwanted gifts should be taken to St Peter’s at 9am on the day of the event.