When a shopping centre boss heard about the plight of 21 month-old Billy Walton from Stockton, the centre manager, Debbie Anderson of the Cleveland Centre set about working with a dedicated team of volunteer fund-raisers to collect donations in the centre during November and December, in order to help the toddler with his fight.
Billy, who has to battle serious health problems as a result of a stroke when he was born which resulted in brain damage, severe sight impairment as well as the toddler suffering from plagiocephaly, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Parents Lisa and Stuart Walton, said: “Everyone has been a fantastic support and we are grateful for every donation made. We are fund-raising to help with the cost of building a special sensory room in our home to help Billy develop further, as this will make such a difference to him along with a suitable vehicle that can accommodate billy and his wheelchair comfortably.”
One of four children and brother to Chloe, nine, Sophie, six and Lily, three, Billy has developed his own way to communicate using touch and sound to identify people.
Visitors to the town’s main shopping centre will be able to make a donation by buying items of a stall ran by volunteers Barrie and Brenda Spooner and Marion Connelly and the team. Barrie, 64 years and Brenda 67 years from Yarm have been voluntary fund-raisers since 1980 and have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities over the years including North Tees Hospice and Guide Dogs for the Blind. This year the team who are mostly pensioners, wanted to support a very local cause and when they heard about Billy’s plight, they decided to help raise funds for a sensory room and vehicle for the family.
Barrie Spooner adds: “We are hoping to raise as much as possible towards £5,000 for the family. The stall is open from Monday morning until Saturday evening and is selling just about everything; clothes, toys, plants, bric-a-bac, tombola, games and game for children where they win everytime! We will also be in the centre from the 2nd to 8th December and hope anyone out and about Christmas shopping will stop buy and take a look at our stall.”
Centre Manager Debbie Anderson comments “We are delighted to be able to help out and support the hard-working volunteers who are working hard to help the family raise enough funds to be able to build a special room for Billy.
“There’s one thing about the people of Middlesbrough and that is that they are generous and supportive of those who need some help and we hope that we will raise a good amount to go towards the sensory room which will provide a fun and engaging environment for Billy.”