John Ruddy raises funds for ‘strong and brave’ Oliver, 6, who suffers from a unique genetic disorder

Four year old Oliver Duerden pictured with his mum Caroline at the family home in Mulbarton. Photo: Steve Adams Four year old Oliver Duerden pictured with his mum Caroline at the family home in Mulbarton. Photo: Steve Adams

Monday, March 17, 2014
10:51 AM

A visit from a Norwich City footballer helped staff at the Co-Operative in Mulbarton raise funds for a little boy with a life-changing illness.

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Great Yarmouth firefighter Martin Harris organised a 165 mile bike ride around Norfolk to raise money for a colleagues little boy who needs a wheelchairGreat Yarmouth firefighter Martin Harris organised a 165 mile bike ride around Norfolk to raise money for a colleagues little boy who needs a wheelchair

A visit from a Norwich City footballer helped staff at the Co-Operative in Mulbarton raise funds for a little boy with a life-changing illness.

Helena Hatto, 42, who works at the store, asked Norwich City and England goalkeeper John Ruddy to raise money for six-year-old Oliver Duerden, who suffers from a unique genetic disorder.

Ruddy signed footballs, T-shirts and photographs for a £1 donation at the shop and in just one hour they raised £225.

Ms Hatto said: “We had loads of people turn up – we hit the school run time. It was really great.”

The money raised will be split between the Cavell Nurses Trust and Oliver’s Tree, a charity trust set up by Oliver’s parents Ian and Caroline Duerden in 2012.

Oliver was born six weeks prematurely. Soon after, Mr Duerden, a former professional footballer who now works as a fireman, was told that his son had dysmorphic features.

Speaking in 2012, Mrs Duerden said: “Oliver had a little bit extra of his chromosome one. Doctors told us there was no-one else in the world with that condition.”

Doctors also discovered Oliver had square ribs and severe scoliosis and, at five months old, they found that valves in his heart were leaking.

Mrs Duerden said: “Oliver has had a tough first few years of his life and at the age of five months we were told Oliver wouldn’t live another two weeks.”

The family went away to spend their final days together, but Oliver’s body became stronger and he underwent surgery to correct his spine and ribs.

Aged only three, Oliver had a 12-hour operation to insert metal rods into his back. He now has two operations a year to lengthen his spine.

Oliver’s Tree helps the couple, who live in Mulbarton with Oliver’s sister Nancy, two, pay for Oliver’s specialist care.

Funds will be donated to Care for Clare, which raises funds for the Clare School where Oliver attends full time. They will go towards a hydropool which Mrs Duerden said the pupils will “very much benefit from”.

She added that having celebrated his sixth birthday in December, Oliver is a “very happy, strong and brave little boy”.

Have you got a story? Contact Lauren Cope at lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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