Appeal for Dereham youngster’s life-changing operation nears �15,000

A charity appeal launched to fund a little boy's life-changing surgery is rapidly approaching the �15,000 mark.

Parents Luke and Debbie Barley started Blake's Wish 2 Walk four weeks ago and have already received a phenomenal response from the community, with their smiling son becoming somewhat of a celebrity.

Three-year-old Blake, from Toftwood, was born 10 weeks early and developed a form of cerebral palsy after suffering a bleed on his brain.

The cheery youngster endures chronic pain while permanent stiffness in his leg muscles prevents him from walking, standing and playing independently.

Blake's family hopes to raise �50,000 to fly him to America for pioneering a procedure called SDR so he can leave his walking frame and uncomfortable leg splints behind him and take his first independent steps.

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A host of charity events have been held so far and the fund stands at �12,000, plus flights which have been paid for by an anonymous benefactor. Money which is still coming in from a sponsored leg wax, zumba-thon and a cycle ride organised by Blake's big sister Beth is expected to push the total to �15,000.

Nine-year-old Beth led a team of cyclists from Norwich to Reepham on Saturday, raising an estimated �800 in sponsorship.

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A street collection held in Dereham town centre raised also raised �556.95 and gave people the chance to meet little Blake himself.

'So many people came over to see us,' Mrs Barley said. 'His back started to ache so he couldn't stay out for long, but people loved being able to see him. He knows he's going to America on an aeroplane, but we don't mention the word 'operation' so he doesn't worry. We just say we are going to try to get his legs fixed.'

A fund-raising music night with Kenny Lee and Hustler is being held at Wymondham Central Hall from 8pm tomorrow night (Friday). Tickets, costing �10, are available on 01953 607495.

In Dereham, a massive yard sale is being organised for Saturday, August 21. The money raised through the sale of pitches, costing �5, will go to the appeal and all the houses taking part will be included in a special map to be purchased on the day.

All those wanting to be included on the map must contact Val on 01362 695666 or 07777 614997 before 5pm on Sunday.

To find out more or to make a donation, click on or call Mrs Barley on 01362 693452.

Cheques, payable to Blake Barley Appeal, can also be posted to 67 Stone Road, Toftwood, Dereham, NR19 1LH.

l The annual Craig Burrell memorial football match in Mattishall, near Dereham, is also raising money for Blake's Wish 2 Walk this year.

Craig was a keen footballer who played for Mattishall YCOB as well as his work football team, Paragon Print (formerly Norfolk Labels), based in Griston near Watton.

Memorial matches have been held since the 23-year-old died after a night out with friends in 2004.

The match, between Mattishall YCOB and Paragon Print, will be held at Mattishall Social Club on Sunday and there will also be a raffle, followed by karaoke and a celebration of Craig's life. Kick-off is at 10.30am, and Mattishall players wishing to take part must be there by 10am.

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