Christmas comes early for Peter Simpson

Gazette & Herald: Keith and Ruth Simpson with their son, Peter, and his new walking frame Keith and Ruth Simpson with their son, Peter, and his new walking frame

A TEENAGER will be enjoying an extra special Christmas this year thanks to the generosity of his local community.

Peter Simpson, who has quadraplegic cerebral palsy, has been able to take his first steps thanks to a state-of-the-art walking aid bought with the help of donations and fundraising in the area.

The 15-year-old, who lives in Wrelton with his parents, Keith and Ruth, has been a wheelchair user since he was a toddler.

Keith, a self-employed milkman, said his son had been born three months prematurely and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was only 10 days old. “It was a very grim picture from the word go,” he said. “We were told it was quite severe, but Peter is a fighter.”

The couple were told Peter would never be able to walk or talk and would require daily therapy.

“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,” he said. “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, which makes specialist walking equipment.

“We went for an assessment and they were confident they could get Peter walking and made a walking aid specially for him,” Keith said.

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

Keith said the walking aid had made a massive difference to his son’s life. “He is eating and sleeping better because he is using his muscles more,” he said. “It has been such a boost for Peter to get outdoors, which he absolutely loves, and now we have a job to keep up with him.”

Keith said the walking aid, which cost about £1,800, was one of the first produced and would still be useable by Peter into adulthood.

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

“We want to thank everyone who has supported us in our fundraising to buy the walking aid, including Ryedale Lions and the Yorkshire Building Society, along with a few private donations,” he said.

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

Keith added: “You hear about so many bad things in the world, but there are so many good people out there. For Peter, Christmas has come early, thanks to the generous people who have supported us.”

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