Mystery benefactor steps in to help young Harry

Harry Smith
Harry Smith

A disabled teenager will be able to sit in comfort with his family after a mystery benefactor donated nearly £1,600 for a special seat.

Harry Smith, 13, and his family from Alverthorpe are looking forward to a brighter new year after receiving funding for the seat he desperately needs to sit without pain.

Along with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, Harry has learning difficulties, epilepsy, is partially sighted and doesn’t speak.

His mum Beverley Smith said: “We are really grateful for the donation - this will really make Harry’s life much better. This news brought us some relief this Christmas and we can look forward to a bit of normality now.

“We want to say how much we appreciate the donation, the special chair will be a big help and will affect the whole family. It just goes to show there is still some generosity in the world.”

The £1,597 donation came about after a story about his parents’ appeal for funding appeared in the Wakefield Express on December 4. With no funding available from statutory services, his family turned to Newlife, a foundation for disabled children, for help. They issued an appeal on the family’s behalf.

With applications for help to fund equipment increasingly significantly, Newlife has been looking to ‘local heroes’ to help fund essential equipment for children. After reading about Harry, a donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, funded the special seat in full.

Previously, Harry only had his moulded wheelchair to sit in at home which is straight backed, hard and rigid. But shortly he will able to sit comfortably and relax with his family while still getting the necessary support for his physical needs.

This is particularly important as he has no head control and it needs to be kept in just the right position.

Harry, his parents, Beverley and David, and sister Emily, will soon be able to sit together properly in their small living room - without Harry’s bulky wheelchair taking up a large amount of space.

It will help them spend quality time together. As the new seat has a mobile base, it will also enable Harry to be moved easily around his home, so he won’t have to miss out on any family activities.

Children’s disability charity Newlife has provided more than more than £353,322 worth of specialist equipment for 302 children in West Yorkshire. It is currently working with a further 23 local families, with combined equipment needs of £34,096. If you feel you could help, visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk/westyorkshire.

For more about supporting families in West Yorkshire, contact Caroline Artschan Fundraising and Awareness Manager for Yorkshire, on 07534 491 933 or email cartschan@newlifecharity.co.uk.

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated in West Yorkshire will be used to provide specialist equipment for children in the area.