North Wootton’s Teddy, 3, given freedom

Lodge Cottage North Wootton'Names from left, John Cole, Joanna Hammond ( Lodge Cottage Owner) Teddy Ringwood, with friend, and Brian Kallagher. ANL-141017-194913009

Lodge Cottage North Wootton'Names from left, John Cole, Joanna Hammond ( Lodge Cottage Owner) Teddy Ringwood, with friend, and Brian Kallagher. ANL-141017-194913009

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A cerebral palsy sufferer now has the opportunity to attend a North Wootton nursery without extra care – thanks to a West Norfolk charity.

Teddy Ringwood, aged three, suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, which affects his legs and means he is unable to climb steps without help, but refuses to let his condition slow him down.

His parents, Carl Ringwood and Sarah Smith, of North Wootton, are keen for the youngster to retain his independence, and as part of this they wanted him to attend Lodge Cottage Nursery School.

Miss Smith said: “We wanted to encourage him to make his own choices and to make sure he is able to be independent, but he would have needed a member of staff with him at all times at Lodge Cottage to help him manage the steps.”

The couple were put in contact with the West Norfolk branch of national charity, Remap, who provide custom-made equipment for people with disabilities.

“Our occupational therapist actually told us about Remap – we had never heard of them before, but they’ve been amazing. The ramps are ever so expensive, but they had one for us so quickly,” said Miss Smith.

“Teddy has come on so much since starting at nursery in September, and he loves the nursery and his friends. He goes in four mornings a week and they really empower him to do things by himself.”

The ramp means he is able to move easily and independently between the split levels of the nursery, meaning he can reach different toys and choose who he wants to play with all by himself.

Joanna Hammond, manager at the nursery, said: “The two most important things at that age are being independent and having your own space to learn, and gaining confidence by making friends.

“Now Teddy can do what he wants without needing someone to help him make his way around the nursery.”

The charity, which nationally celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is made up of engineers, craftsmen and healthcare professionals who work together to provide one-off custom made devices to help make life a little easier for those with disabilities.

John Cole, chairman of West Norfolk Remap, said: “It was decided a ramp was needed to enable Teddy to use the French doors to the garden at Lodge Cottage, and we had one built and installed so he could start nursery at the beginning of term.”

The West Norfolk branch has been running for 38 years, and in that time has provided over 1,000 devices to those in need. John added: “Over the years devices have included a raising clothes line for wheelchair users and those with severe arthritis, portable lightweight steps for a disabled girl to use in the play area at school, and bicycle handlebar modifications to allow a one-handed girl to ride a two-wheel bike.”

Remap relies on volunteers and are in need of engineers living in Swaffham and Wisbech, plus a secretary who is able to attend monthly meetings at the community room at Hardwick Tesco.

To volunteer or request support from Remap contact John Cole on 01485 542412 or at www.remap.org.uk