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Plea to help create sensory garden for 10-year-old disabled March boy

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Today we are asking the people of Fenland to dig deep to help make dreams of a sensory garden a reality for a local disabled boy.

Carol Alderton, leader of the Wisbech Phab Club, is running the appeal to help raise at least £10,000 for a special garden for 10-year-old Joseph Farmer, from March.

An appeal has been launched to raise money for a sensory garden for Joseph Farmer pictured here with Carol Alderton, dad Daniel and sister Isla, 3. (2949553)
An appeal has been launched to raise money for a sensory garden for Joseph Farmer pictured here with Carol Alderton, dad Daniel and sister Isla, 3. (2949553)

Joseph, who is cared for by his single-dad Daniel and his little sister Isla, three, suffers from tuberous sclerosis, which has affected his global development and causes him to have at least five seizures a day.

As a result of the illness, which he was diagnosed with as a young baby, Joseph has the mental capacity of an eight month old and needs help with everything, including eating and drinking. He is confined to a wheelchair.

Daniel explained: “We knew there was a problem almost straightaway. Joseph was having seizures almost from birth but because of the way they were it was initially thought he was suffering from colic.

“Eventually he was diagnosed with epilepsy and then, a while later, he was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis, which in his case is genetic. He was having 20 seizures a day but he had brain surgery at the age of two and they have dropped to around five a day.”

They leave Joseph, who attends Meadowgate School in Wisbech, very tired, so the sensory garden Carol is hoping to have built will focus on things that he can enjoy without having to be physically active.

She said: “We would love a water feature, lots of colour, raised flower beds with scented plants, wind chimes and a soft play area. Isla is also desperate for a swing, so it would be great to be able to include one of those that both the children can enjoy.

“I have been told that to create the ideal garden for Joseph will cost around £35,000, but I have set the initial target of £10,000. That seems more realistic and we can always add to the garden as more money comes in.

“At the moment the garden is a barren bit of grass and a small patio, which is not very practical for Joseph to enjoy. Having a lovely outside space where Joseph can relax would make a huge difference for him.

“We would love people to get behind the project and also offers of help with the work, donations of plants, equipment and materials would all be welcome.

“We have had offers of help from FACET, who are going to provide some wooden planters, and Eddie’s charity, which runs arts and crafts sessions, have offered to create a colourful mural.

“We are having a tombola stall at March Community Centre on August 4 and we have an online funding page at: mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/carolalderton”

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