Fund-raiser for toddler Harley

Fun day organised at New World Nursery to raise money for a sensory bedroom for two-year-old Harley Stafford who has cerebal palsy.'Harley with his mum Claire and dad Shaun.
Fun day organised at New World Nursery to raise money for a sensory bedroom for two-year-old Harley Stafford who has cerebal palsy.'Harley with his mum Claire and dad Shaun.
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TODDLER Harley Stallard was the guest of honour at a family fun day held to raise money to kit out his bedroom with sensory toys.

The two-year-old has limited mobility after being born premature, at 28 weeks, and suffering a bleed to his brain at just two days old.

As a result, Harley, from Barmston in Washington, has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or sit up, and can only move by shuffling on his back.

His mum Claire, 25, and dad Shaun, 38, are now on a mission to raise £5,000 to brighten up Harley’s life with a special bedroom filled with sensory equipment.

The money will pay for a padded floor, light projectors, mirrors, a bubble lamp, light tubes and activity centres on the walls, which Harley can lie on the floor and play with.

The first fund-raising event was held on Saturday at the New World Nursery in Concord, which his three-year-old sister Kaci attends.

The fun included face painting, raffles, competitions and games and was enjoyed by about 100 people.

Claire, who is Harley’s full-time carer, as well as looking for other daughter Kia, six, who has autism, said it was important to encourage Harley to sleep in his own bed.

“He has a special sleep system and body suit which stop him curling up in bed, which could lead to scoliosis – a curvature of the spine,” she said.

Doctors have warned her that Harley will never walk, but Claire is not convinced.

“He’s a really good talker – he says things he shouldn’t all the time,” she said.

“The hospital said he won’t talk and he won’t walk, but I’m not convinced he won’t walk because he’s proved them wrong before.”

The majority of Harley’s problems are physical, and once he leaves nursery at Sunderland’s Sunningdale School, they will be able to better assess his learning ability.

“He’s really bubbly, but he’s really shy with other people,” Claire said.

“He won’t talk to strangers, but once he sees a car or a motorbike he lights up – that’s all he talks about.

“He says ‘I need a bike’, I need a spark plug’. He listens to everything.”

His grandma, Caroline Allin, 47, added: “He is just the apple of my eye.

“When he was born they thought he wasn’t going to make it through the night. He’s brought so much to the whole family, he is just fantastic.”