Carronshore community rallies round to help build Sara’s room

Family and friends fundraise for Sara
Family and friends fundraise for Sara

Fundraising efforts on behalf of their daughter have amazed and delighted a local family.

Five-year-old Sara Penman has Joubert syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which means she needs 24-hour care.

A pupil at Kinnaird Primary School’s Thistle Wing, she is fed through a tube and has mobility problems.

The Penmans, from Carronshore, moved to a house with a downstairs bedroom for Sara as well as space for Jack (3), who attends Carronshore Nursery, but they needed to add a wetroom.

Mum Wendy, who works for Falkirk Council, explained: “Just now we are carrying Sara upstairs to the bathroom but she really needs facilities downstairs – I’ll not be able to carry her forever.

“We applied for a grant to build one and we were given 80 per cent of the money we needed but there was still a £4000 shortfall. We were pretty disappointed and thought it could take a long time for us to get the rest together.”

But once Gordon Smith and wife Katrien, who own The Victoria Inn in Carronshore, heard about Sara’s plight, they started a fundraising mission.

Gordon said: “I went to school with Sara’s dad, Scott, and I’ve known Wendy for about 25 years – they are a lovely family and Sara is a really cheeky wee character.

“Wendy told me about the wetroom and how they needed to find the rest themselves and I decided I had to help. I’ve got kids myself so I know you want only the best for them.”

The pub started fundraising in January with a Burns supper hosted by the Higginsneuk Burns Club and, by the time of their latest event, a Wild West day, they had surpassed the total needed, meaning work will start this summer.

Gordon continued: “The local community have been so generous. I thought it could take a year to get the money together but in six months we smashed the target and are sitting at £4400.

“I can’t thank the community and local businesses enough for all their help - but I’m not done yet, there are plenty more fundraisers planned for Sara.”