‘Saddle’ seat donation certainly sits well with youngster Abby

Abby tries out her new saddle seat at home
Abby tries out her new saddle seat at home

A seven-year-old girl with a form of cerebral palsy will be able to keep busy at school and at home thanks to her new “saddle” seat.

Abby Paris, from Maddiston, has a condition which results in tense muscles and spasms and over time this causes joints to stiffen, reducing her mobility.

Thanks to the specialist seat donated by Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and Marks and Spencer, she will be able to focus 100 per cent on her school work without having to think about her posture.

Mum Gayle said: “The chair helps her maintain a good posture without her having to concentrate on it. It puts her body in the position it should be, leaving Abby to be able to concentrate better on her school work.”

Local statutory services will not provide a second saddle seat for use at home and the cost of the equipment, which is over £1000, led the family to contact Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment, for help.

Gayle said: “Having another chair to use at home means, in the long term, Abby will have fewer problems with her hips, back and shoulders. If her posture goes unchecked it could result in unpleasant surgery.”

A keen crafter, Abby can spends hours sewing and creating gel art pictures, so the special seat will support her during these activities.

Gayle added: “Abby has some issues with the muscles in her legs not being stretched. We have had to strap her into a standing frame for an hour a day to help counteract this. The saddle seat does away with the need for the standing frame, which is a big relief to us all.”

It was a partnership between Newlife and Marks and Spencer which helped fund the seat.

Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife Foundation, said: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK.

“Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives. We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”

Marks and Spencer community programme manager Jacquie Leonard added: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but also helps improve lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment.”