“This generosity restores your faith in people,” - Rita Smith

Robert Smith appealing for help with transport for him to go and watch wrestling
Robert Smith appealing for help with transport for him to go and watch wrestling
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Generous Citizen readers have once again rallied to help local good causes with offers of money and support.

Offers have flooded in to help 24-year-old Robert Smith achieve his life-long ambition to see WWE wrestling live.

Robert, from Walsoken, was featured on the front page of last week’s Wisbech edition of the Citizen. He suffers from Proteus Syndrome - which is the same condition as Joseph Merrick known as ‘the elephant man’ and is bedridden.

His massive eight-feet tall frame makes it difficult for him to get about and desperate mum Rita appealed for help in transporting Robert to watch his favourite sport in Nottingham next month.

The Citizen’s phone lines were red-hot after the paper highlighted Robert’s plight, with offers of everything from paying for the hire of a special vehicle, to spending money and one care home even offered to provide qualified carers to accompany Robert on the trip.

There were so many offers that it has been difficult to choose and Citizen chief reporter and Rita will be going through the many calls to see which ones best suit Robert’s needs.

Rita said: “I didn’t like asking for help, but I couldn’t see any other way. Knowing how many offers of help have been made restore’s your faith in people, and you realise there are some very kindhearted people out there. I can’t thank people enough, I’m over the moon.”

The Citizen’s March edition featured disabled brothers Billy and Jayden Weaver from Chatteris.

Both boys aged five and 10-months have a rare condition known as the ‘syndrome with no name’. It affects the development of the brain leaving them severely physically disabled.

Their parents Maria and Stephen are aiming to raise money to buy a special exercise machine, which simulates horse-riding,

Billy has been enjoying lessons with riding for the disabled at the Magpie Centre near Downham Market for the past year or so. But getting him to the lessons has become increasingly difficult since the arrival of Jayden.

Maria explained the exercise has proved a huge benefit for Billy, who has improved his balance and motor skills as a result of the lessons. He also loves the horses.

The family want to buy an I-Joy, which simulates horse-riding. The specialist machine will benefit both boys but costs over £500, which is an expense the Weavers are unable to afford.

However, Chatteris business owner Teresa Smith who runs Leopard’s Boutique and Chatterfish Spa, has stepped in with the offer of running a fundraising raffle.

She is hoping other independent businesses in the town will get involved by donating a prize.

“We would like to get as many businesses as possible involved. We would love to be able to put together one big hamper of goodies that a lucky winner could win. Obviously if other people want to donate a prize, then that is great too. We will be selling tickets and will announce the date of the draw once the prizes are in,” explained Teresa, who said the boys’ plight had tugged at her heartstrings.

“It would be really nice to be able to help the boys. This is a local cause and I feel sure local businesses will want to help,” she said.

Anyone wanting to donate a prize should contact Teresa at her business premises at 6 High Street, Chatteris.

Other individuals have come forward offering cash donations towards the cost of the machine.