East End neighbours club together to send Cerebral Palsy kid to Disneyland

Cerebal palsy teenager George Roberts

Cerebal palsy teenager George Roberts - Credit: Archant

Teenager George Roberts has had cerebral palsy almost from birth—but has a dream to go to Disneyland in Florida to swim with the dolphins.

Apple travel agent Jane Wright (left) with teenager George and his mum Eileen launching the fundrais

Apple travel agent Jane Wright (left) with teenager George and his mum Eileen launching the fundraising campaign - Credit: Archant

Now his neighbours in London’s East End are clubbing together to make his dream come true, while shops and tradesmen are also chipping in to raise the cash.

The 19-year-old developed Meningitis at three weeks old which left him with Cerebral Palsy and a life confined to a wheelchair. He cannot stand or walk without support.

But the determined youngster goes to college Monday to Friday where he receives treatment including language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and life skills.

George is home most weekends with his mum at St Stephen’s Road in Old Ford.

He only receives Disability Living Allowance for the two nights he is there, which he uses to go once-a-year to the world-renowned Peto Institute in Budapest which teaches cerebral palsy youngsters who cannot control their bodies properly to lead more-independent lives.

His mum Eileen keeps trying to talk him into staying at home all week. But George says: “I need to get smart.”

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Now good neighbour Emma Price is starting a campaign to raise the £3,200 needed for the holiday which opens tomorrow with a befit evening at Stepney’s Dean Swift pub.

“George is an inspiration to us all,” Emma said. “He is infectious, such a lovely kid.”

Electrician Andrew Harris was rewiring the bakery shop Emma works in at Watney Market and heard about George’s dream to go to Florida. He surprised her with a £300 donation.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Emma added. “It was a bit of a shock.”

But it hasn’t stopped there. Apple travel agency in Bethnal Green’s Roman Road got to hear about Emma’s campaign and put a notice in the window with a picture of George.

Travel agent proprietor Jane Wright said: “People keep coming in off the street with donations.

“A woman handed her debit card and said I should take £25, then saw George’s picture and added, ‘make it £30’.

“A pensioner popped in who didn’t have much, just £1.22, but insisted on giving it towards George’s trip.”

Apple Travel booked the trip for next summer even before the donations started coming in—they’ve already raised more than half the target.

Double-glazing contractors D&G Solutions chipped in £500. Mecca Bingo in Hackney Road is offering a week of collections at its afternoon and evening sessions as well as a raffle prize for tomorrow evening’s fundraiser. Two supermarkets, Waitrose in Canary Wharf and Tesco in Bromley-by-Bow, have also offered raffle prizes.

Tomorrow’s benefit evening at Stepney’s Dean Swift pub at 2-6 Deancross Street, off the Commercial Road, starts 7.30pm, entry £10.

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