BIG-HEARTED pub regulars raised £1,600 for sensory equipment that will help the development of an infant born with a rare life-limiting condition.
Sixteen-month-old Isabelle Gregory, from Newry Park, in Chester was born with a mitochondrial disease affecting brain function including her hearing and sight.
Locals at The Offas Dyke in Broughton hold an annual fundraising event every Christmas and after learning about Isabelle decided to donate this year’s money towards sensory equipment, such as strobe lights, that will stimulate her senses.
Isabelle’s mum and dad, Jemma and Craig, had hoped to join in the fun which involved a football match with a quiz and auction afterwards, but their little girl had to be admitted to Alder Hey Hospital because of seizures.
“We were gutted we missed it,” said Jemma, a qualified mental health nurse. “We’re going to get sensory equipment and lights and things because that’s going to help stimulate her. We just didn’t think she could see or hear but now she’s starting to respond to toys, noises and lights. We’re going to be able to make a sensory den for her.”
“We are really grateful, it’s been amazing to be offered this. The lights are really expensive,” added Jemma, who has a three-year-old son Isaac and is pregnant with a sister for Isabelle, who is due in March and has been given a clean bill of health.
Jemma loves seeing Isabelle smile and giggle and says she is generally happy even though she can’t sit up or stand up by herself and must be fed a special diet through a tube.
She added: “The time-frame we’ve been given is that she probably wouldn’t live past her second birthday. If she gets a bug or she gets poorly, it can knock her for six and that could be it. So we live with that threat every day.”
Dad Craig, who works at the O2 mobile phone shop in Chester, added: “The people in the pub were winning the raffle and throwing the money back in. It’s amazing. Thanks to everyone. We’re overwhelmed by it.”
Chris Davies, who used to run children’s football in the village, set up the charity 25 years ago which he later named the Craig Davies Memorial Charity Day in memory of his son who died of a brain tumour in 1994.
He thanked Craig’s friend Dylan Williams for his hard work in organising the day and Ryan McKeown, the holding manager at the pub, for his support.
Chris from Broughton said: “It’s the one thing I’m proud about in my life, that it’s gone on for so long. I think it’s one heck of an achievement to go on for 25 years. If I’d had my way it would have stopped ages ago but Dylan has taken on the mantel! We’ve raised thousands.”