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Grandson inspired retired GP's charity which is helping children with cerebral palsy

PUBLISHED: 11:01 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 25 April 2019

Moss Taylor and Robina Churchyard from Sheringham, who have donated £1000 from their charity Love for Leo, helping children with cerebral palsy, to Norwich toddler Harper Sharrocks. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Moss Taylor and Robina Churchyard from Sheringham, who have donated £1000 from their charity Love for Leo, helping children with cerebral palsy, to Norwich toddler Harper Sharrocks. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A retired GP whose grandson's battle with cerebral palsy inspired him to help other children with the same condition has given a boost to a Norwich toddler's bid to walk.

Moss Taylor and Robina Churchyard from Sheringham, who have donated £1000 from their charity Love for Leo, helping children with cerebral palsy, to Norwich toddler Harper Sharrocks. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMoss Taylor and Robina Churchyard from Sheringham, who have donated £1000 from their charity Love for Leo, helping children with cerebral palsy, to Norwich toddler Harper Sharrocks. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Moss Taylor and his partner Robina Churchyard, from Sheringham, launched their charity Love for Leo in 2014, giving cash grants to the families of youngsters who cannot access what they need on the NHS.

Mr Taylor said: “My grandson Leo is a twin, and he was the second one to be born. His sister (Tiger Lily) was born at home, Leo got stuck and he had big problems.”

Leo's mother, May, was rushed to hospital, where Leo was born.

But Mr Taylor, 75, said: “He was born a floppy, blue baby and he was fitting a lot.”

Harper Sharrocks parents, Steve and Natasha are fundraising to take their daughter to America for a life changing operation.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Harper Sharrocks parents, Steve and Natasha are fundraising to take their daughter to America for a life changing operation. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

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Leo had suffered from a lack of oxygen at birth, and spent 10 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It resulted in him having cerebral palsy, meaning the seven-year-old now has speech difficulties, and is unable to use one arm, and has limited mobility.

“He can't stand or walk at all,” said Mr Taylor. “But he's such a happy little boy, he's just accepted it and it was Robina's idea to get this charity going and she came up with the name.”

The pair were no strangers to raising money, with Mr Taylor a founder of the now defunct Sheringham Children's Trust, which supported youngsters who had lost a parent.

Mrs Churchyard raised more than £40,000 for local and national animal sanctuaries through her own charity, Animal Crackers.

Retired Sheringham GP Moss Taylor with his grandson Leo and partner Robina Churchyard, pictured in 2015. Photo: Chris TaylorRetired Sheringham GP Moss Taylor with his grandson Leo and partner Robina Churchyard, pictured in 2015. Photo: Chris Taylor

MORE: Retired Sheringham GP launches charity to help cerebral palsy children including his three-year-old grandson

But Mr Taylor said it was the generosity of the community which shone through and £21,000 had been raised since 2014.

This included £3,000 from Sheringham Golf Club, which will again be raising money for the charity this year.

Now Love for Leo gives grants of up to £1,000 to the families of children in Norfolk or Suffolk with cerebral palsy, to help with anything needed. “One of the things Leo is lucky with, he's got a wheelchair. But a lot of parents can't even get simple wheelchairs and all the specialist adaptations.”

But the pair want people who need help to get in touch, as they often only find families through the press.

That was the case with the family of Harper Sharrocks, two, from Sprowston, whose family are trying to raise £80,000 for surgery which could allow her to walk.

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Love for Leo will donate £1,000 towards that target, and Mr Taylor said: “We thought this is someone we would really like to help.

“We really understand the problem families affected by cerebral palsy are having and we are so pleased to be able to help financially in any way that we can to make their lives, and the lives of their children, easier.”

Steve Sharrocks, Harper's father, said he was shocked when he heard about the donation but that community fundraising was core to them hitting their goal.

Harper was born prematurely on September 1, 2016, and a number of complications led to her being diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Her parents are fundraising for an operation called selective dorsal rhizotomy, which could help her walk.

Mr Sharrocks, who grew up in Sheringham, said: “With fundraising we've found that more and more there's the need for community fundraising, it's getting the word out there and helping each other. There are people who just want to help other people and it's amazing.

“There's no reason for Mr Taylor to help us out except for through his grandson he's seen what it can do to families and how he can help them. Before Harper I wouldn't have thought of doing that, but my perception has changed now.

“It's amazing that he's doing it and when this is all over we want to help other families who need it too.”

Mr Sharrocks said although £80,000 was a daunting target, all donations helped from the larger ones such as that from Love for Leo to the smaller ones.

“We need those small donations coming in and little events, it gives us hope. It brings your spirits up knowing people are helping you.

“It's our world, we have to do it, but for other people to do it, it's amazing. “

• To follow Harper's journey search for Harper's Little Helpers on Facebook or Twitter, or to donate click here.

• To find out more about Love for Leo search for the charity on Facebook.

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