Charity Norwich golf day helps Grace Matthews, 7, in bid to buy running blades

Grace Matthews with her dad Brian and brother Tom on the practise green during the fundraising golf day at Dunston Hall Golf Club. Photo: Steve Adams Grace Matthews with her dad Brian and brother Tom on the practise green during the fundraising golf day at Dunston Hall Golf Club. Photo: Steve Adams

Monday, April 21, 2014
6:30 AM

Little Grace Matthews loves to run with her friends, but struggles to keep up.

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Grace Matthews with her family, organisers and supporters after the magnificent fundraising golf day at Dunston Hall Golf Club. Photo: Steve AdamsGrace Matthews with her family, organisers and supporters after the magnificent fundraising golf day at Dunston Hall Golf Club. Photo: Steve Adams

The seven-year-old, of Mile Cross, lost her legs to meningitis when she was just three and relies on prosthetic legs to get about.

She longs for running blades, which cost around £20,000, to keep up with other children.

Her story captured the hearts of a group of Norwich golfers, and they swung their weight behind her cause on a charity day at Dunston Hall.

Organiser Christopher Milligan has hosted the annual charity fixture on Good Friday for eight years, and said Grace inspired them to raise their highest total ever this year.

They had set out to raise £3,000, but got a hole-in-one with more than £5,500 achieved on the day.

“She’s a fantastic little girl,” said Mr Milligan, who works as a plasterer. “When I heard about her story I felt myself filling up.

“She did the raffle draw for us and it was really good. She was brilliant.”

Grace was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia – or meningitis B – in January 2011 and had to have both her legs, all the fingers on her left hand, and half the palm on her right hand amputated.

Her parents, Vicky and Brian, set up a trust fund to help her in any way possible.

Writing on their website, they said: “Although heartbreaking for any parent, we are very blessed and grateful to still have our little girl.

“Grace loves all animals, she loves horse-riding, cycling and riding her scooter. She’s a fearless swimmer and loves playing with friends.

“It is our aim to give Grace the best possible life we can.”

A total of 108 people attended the golf day, and more than 50 companies donated prizes to the raffle.

Mr Milligan has hailed everyone who helped organise the event, took part or donated a raffle prize for their help, including Barry Milligan, Teresa Hoppington, Andrew Tye and Richard Tidy.

For details see www.gracematthewstrust.co.uk/

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