Teenager from Wrelton, near Pickering, takes first steps thanks to community's generosity

Darlington and Stockton Times: Keith and Ruth Simpson pictured with son Peter Keith and Ruth Simpson pictured with son Peter

A COMMUNITY'S generosity has enabled a teenager to walk for the first time.

Peter Simpson, 15, was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and his parents were warned by doctors that he may never walk or speak and would need daily therapy.

But with the help of local donations and fundraising, Peter has been able to take his first steps with a specially-made walking aid.

Parents Keith and Ruth, of Wrelton, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, said he has been in a wheelchair since a toddler having been born three months prematurely and being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 10 days old.

Mr Simpson said: “It was a very grim picture from the word go. We were told it was quite severe, but Peter is a fighter.”

“We were devastated when we found out, but we although Peter cannot speak, we can converse with him and we use a lot of eye contact.

“Peter is determined to get by on a day-to-day basis and certainly has his own mind – he is a typical teenager and very full of himself, and he is also a very happy chap.”

Peter attends Springhead Special Needs School, in Scarborough, four days a week, and Lady Lumley’s School, in Pickering, once a week.

As well as a daily therapy programme, he also attends a centre in Somerset twice a year and it was there that staff put the family in touch with a clinic in West Yorkshire that makes specialist walking equipment.

Mr Simpson said: “Within 20 minutes of us going to pick it up Peter took his first four steps. I cannot describe how wonderful that felt.”

Mr Simpson said the walking aid, which cost around £1,800, had made a massive difference to his son’s life. “He is eating and sleeping better because he is using his muscles more,” he added.

The walking aid was bought after various fundraising events by the family, supported by individuals and organisations in the community.

Mr Simpson added: “People have been very, very generous and helped us along the way and we would have struggled to raise the funds without them.”

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