Kind-hearted readers have helped to give a disabled girl a new lease of life.
Jasmine Ather-Elder, ten, from East Rainton, who has cerebral palsy, was unable to play outside with her friends when she outgrew a specialist tricycle which helps her to get about.
But after an appeal in the Echo, members of the public donated funds to pay for a £1,500 new one - with one anonymous benefactor donating a massive £800.
The East Rainton Primary School pupil has thanked people for giving her her independence back after two years without a trike.
Jasmine’s great aunt, and carer, Linda Ather, said: “It’s been just amazing. We’re really humbled as we never expected such a public show of support.
“It just goes to show you that there are some extremely kind people out there. Some of the messages on Jasmine’s Just Giving page have been so kind. One anonymous donation for £5 was accompanied by the words ‘May this bring you the happiness and freedom that every little girl should have’. How beautiful is that?”
Linda teamed up with charity Caudwell Children, which provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, to launch the appeal.
After smashing the target just days after the appeal went to print, Jasmine went through a detailed fitting service and has just received her new trike.
The blue three-wheeler tricycle, with Union Flag wheels, has been adapted so her feet can be secured to the pedals and her knees are prevented from banging together.
Lisa Bates, head of applications at Caudwell Children, is delighted by the success of the appeal.
She said: “Jasmine has hit 178per cent of her target. This means that not only does Jasmine get the tricycle that she so desperately needs, but it also enables the charity to provide a tricycle for another child.”
Linda says that the tricycle is already having a huge impact on Jasmine. As she explained: “I can’t really put into words what it means to Jasmine. She simply loves the trike. She’s been out peddling with her friends with a huge smile on his face.
“There are so many things that she can’t do, because of her condition, but the tricycle gives her the ability to actually do something for herself.
“With this equipment she’s regained her independence and we’re so happy to see her joining in with her friends again.”
•You can support Caudwell Children through Jasmine’s Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/trike4jasmine