Archie sets his sights on riding high after op in July

A YOUNGSTER gearing up to travel to America for a life-changing operation has been given a piece of equipment to help aid his recovery after he gets back.

Archie Anderson and his mum Marie and dad Allan have now raised the £50,000 they need to pay for an operation to help the five-year-old walk unaided for greater distances than he is able to manage at the moment, as reported in last week’s News Post Leader.

The family smashed their target, thanks to a selfless donation of £10,000 – later increased to an even more generous £13,000 – from staff at Rio Tinto Alcan in Lynemouth.

The workers chose to split the money from their social fund between the Ashington youngster’s appeal and two other charities following the announcement of the plant’s closure rather than sharing it among themselves.

Now Northumbria Police’s charities fund is doing its bit too by donating an iJoy Ride fitness machine for Archie, a cerebral palsy sufferer, to help improve his balance, posture and strength after his op, scheduled for July.

Marie said: “He has trouble with simple things like going up and down steps or getting in and out of the car, and the surgery will give Archie the best chance to get on in life, but it won’t stop when he comes home.

“He will need to do a lot of exercises and physiotherapy, and the iJoy Ride will really help to build up his core muscles.

“The iJoy Ride is a fantastic piece of machinery, and we are so grateful to the police for giving it to Archie as it will help strengthen his legs after the operation.

“It was such a nice gesture to provide us with it.

“The operation will make things a lot easier for him, and it will mean he will be able to run around with his friends and hop.

“He’ll be able to walk with his feet flat on the floor, which is something he’s never been able to do.”

Inspector Barrie Joisce, of Ashington police, said: “It’s great that the fund could support Archie in this way.

“He is a bright, bubbly and very energetic little boy, and we were more than happy to help support him.

“Northumbria Police wish him and his family all the best for his operation in July.”

Money is continuing to be paid into Archie’s appeal fund, and the extra cash will help pay for physiotherapy after his op, called a selective dorsal rhizotomy, in Missouri.

Country band Kicking Up the Dust played a charity gig at the Plough in Ellington on Saturday, and a bag pack also took place at Asda in Ashington that same day, as well as one of the region’s Inner Wheel clubs chipping in with £500.

Marie added: “I can’t thank everyone enough.

“The majority of the money that has been raised has come from people from Ashington. It isn’t a big town, but the support we have had has been absolutely amazing.

“People that we have never met that we don’t know have been giving us money.

“One person turned up on the doorstep on Christmas Eve with a cheque for £1,000.

“It’s just been incredible, especially at a time when no one has any money.”

To check how Archie, a pupil at St Aidan’s First School in Ashington, is getting on, go to www.archiesdream.co.uk