14 Jul Giving back for Penny
LITTLE Penny Turner is full of smiles – and it’s all thanks to the charitable efforts of Sunshine Fund supporters across the North East.
The 22-month-old stays cheerful despite having spina bifida and suffering from a range of health problems which include difficulty in walking.
While she stunned her parents Heather and Colin by managing to take her first steps recently, she is not mobile enough to make the most of the great outdoors. But now she’s been given a real boost through The Chronicle charity’s Go Bananas appeal which is buying her a wheelchair specially designed for a child her age.
Penny, from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland, is one of 10 children chosen from across the North East to benefit from the Sunshine Fund’s campaign which ran throughout June and recently announced it has hit its £60,000 target. That’s the amount needed to buy life-changing specialist equipment for all of the youngsters, who suffer from a range of disabilities – and top of the list for Penny was a wheelchair suitable for her age group which was not available on the NHS.
Now the family, joined by schoolchildren and teaching staff, have come up with an extraordinary thank-you for the gift – a donation of more than £1,700 to the charity to help other disabled local children. Their gesture will benefit future applicants in need of help from the charity and the joint fundraising effort involved pupils and teachers from the Grace Darling Campus at Northumberland Church of England Academy – the local school attended by Penny’s older sisters Georgia, nine, and seven-year-old Bethany.
The pair wrote to their headteacher asking for permission to fundraise for the Sunshine Fund as a way of saying thank you for helping Penny – and the school readily agreed.
Then Newcastle High School for Girls proved equally eager to help after hearing about the idea via a teacher from Grace Darling. And the idea snowballed, with both schools taking part in the Sunshine Fund’s Wear Yellow day in June which saw Penny’s family themselves dress up as bananas to raise sponsorship.