Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
VITAL funds to pay for a seven-month-old boy to have specialist treatment for his misshapen head have flooded in following publicity about his plight in the Herald.
Just under £2,000 has been raised to buy the necessary helmet to correct the shape of Blake Simmonds’s skull following the discovery that he was suffering from a little-known condition that affects young babies called plagiocephaly.
His mother, Jade Pheasey of Bidford, noticed there was something wrong three months after prematurely giving birth to Blake. There was a slanting up to the left-hand side at the back of his head.
She sought medical advice, but was told that the condition was not dangerous and was therefore regarded as a “cosmetic” affliction that could not be treated on the NHS.
Jade then learnt that a special helmet to re-align a baby’s head was available commercially, but could cost up to £2,500, which Jade had no hope of affording. But the treatment is not available once a child has become 12 months’ old because, by then, the skull is firmly in shape. As a result Jade found herself in a race against time.
Shortly before Christmas well-wishers started donating money via a charity website. But it was only after Blake’s story appeared on the front page of the Herald on 19th December that the campaign to raise the cash really took off.
“When I first started it I was a bit pessimistic,” said Jade this week. “It was a lot of money to raise in a short space of time. But after the story appeared in the Herald it shot up by hundreds of pounds a time and was going up hour by hour.
“It’s taken me only five weeks to raise just under £2,000. It’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”
At the time of writing the Blake appeal had secured £1,986. The helmet he will need costs £1,950. Next Wednesday Jade will take Blake to the Technology in Motion clinic in Coventry where he will undergo a cranial assessment.
Said Jade: “They will measure the alignment by laser to see how out of line his head is. They will then make the helmet to fit his head.”
Two weeks later—around the end of January—she will take Blake back to the clinic so he can have the helmet fitted.
Jade is understandably over the moon that people have so generously given money to help her baby son. One of them was an anonymous donor who gave £250 “so little Blake won’t have to suffer at the hands of bullies at school”.
Another donation was of £500 from a South Warwickshire charity which already helps Head Start for Babies, the charity with which Jade became associated in her quest for funds.
Donations ranged from £2 to £500. One anonymous donor, giving £100, declared: “Both my children had plagiocephaly as babies and I know how stressed you may be feeling. They had the helmet treatment and it worked brilliantly.”
Jade is now hoping that Blake’s helmet will have the same brilliant effect.