Feathers fly as auction helps Archie near total

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A YOUNGSTER’S bid to raise £50,000 for life-changing surgery has taken flight.

Archie Anderson is raising funds so he can undergo an operation called a selective dorsal rhizotomy in the US in the hope that it will enable him to walk greater distances unaided.

The cerebral palsy sufferer’s hopes of raising the cash he needs have been boosted by a collection and bird auction held by pigeon-fanciers raising more than £1,000.

The idea for the sale was sparked by one of the five-year-old Ashington lad’s mum Marie’s workmates, Deborah Ellis, suggesting to brother-in-law Wayne Shields that he do a whip-round among fellow pigeon-fanciers.

Wayne, secretary of a racing pigeon club covering an area stretching from Tynemouth north to Berwick, invited Marie to a presentation night, and it took off from there.

“When Marie spoke and Archie went round talking to the members, they were very moved,” said Wayne.

“I am also involved in Newsham Homing Society, and we auction off a bird to raise funds for the club, but everyone wanted to give the cash to Archie.

“Another three pigeons were auctioned, and we have raised in excess of £1,000 so far.

“Archie wants a pigeon named after him, so we are going to have another auction in the spring to make another of his dreams come true.”

Marie said: “Archie loved the night and is very excited that he will be able to see a pigeon named after him. I can’t thank the members enough for their kindness.”

Longframlington butcher R Green and Son has also chipped in with £637 raised by selling Christmas turkeys, taking the family’s total to more than £20,000.

Marie added “To be just past £20,000 already is overwhelming and is a real boost, but we still have £30,000 to go.”

Fellow fundraiser Callum Brown is also a step closer to achieving his dream.

The seven-year-old, of Seaton Sluice, is raising cash so he can get the same operation as Archie, and next week Blagdon Amateur Thespian Society will be staging Jack and the Beanstalk to help out.

The show is on at Cramlington Village Community Centre from Wednesday to Saturday. Tickets, priced at £5 for adults and £4 for children, are available by calling (01670) 733827.