Schoolboy’s charity phone bid extended

Tom Harper with some of the phones he has collected.

Tom Harper with some of the phones he has collected. - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

A LOWESTOFT schoolboy is collecting old phones to swap for new equipment for his school after successfully securing a computer for a friend with autism using the same charitable scheme.

Tom Harper, who also suffers from autism and attends The Ashley School Academy Trust, in Lowestoft, is collecting as many of the unwanted devices as possible to exchange for the latest technology from the Hearts and Minds Challenge.

The charity will exchange the phones for a variety of learning aids, including projectors, iPad computers and interactive whiteboards.

The nine-year-old has already collected 370 phones to receive an iPad for himself and a second one for a young woman with autism in his home village of Walberswick.

Tom's mum, Marie Ruth, who works in the Co-operative Supermarket in Walberswick, said: 'Tom just wants to keep collecting.

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'People are still bringing phones in to the shop and someone sent one in by post, which was a nice thing to do.

'We are going to collect as many phones as possible and then see what the school would like to swap them for.'

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Tom is at the low end of the autistic spectrum, meaning his symptoms are among the most severe. He also has epilepsy and mild cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to help keep him safe in public. However, Hearts and Minds says that using iPads can help autistic children work on receptive and expressive language, fine motor skills, problem solving skills and joint attention.

Anyone who would like to support Tom's collection can take their unwanted mobile phones to the Co-operative Supermarket in Walberswick.

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