Crew donates open day funds to help fund operation

Firefighters who helped raise funds for a life-changing operation got to meet the girl whose life the operation will change.

Four-year-old Halle Heriot, from Fenside Drive in Newborough, has Cerebral Palsy and has to have daily physio for her condition and wear splints day and night.

She currently gets about using a special walker, known as a K-Walker, for short periods of time as well as a wheelchair for the remainder of the time.

Her parents Fran and Tim Heriot launched an appeal to raise £55,000 for specialist treatment for Halle, which is not available on the NHS. 

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is an operation used to improve muscle stiffness in Cerebral Palsy patients and will involve dividing and permanently cutting some of the nerve fibres which run from Halle’s leg muscles to the spinal cord and are causing her muscle stiffness and spasms.

The procedure, which will take place at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, isn’t a cure for Cerebral Palsy but is described by her parents as life changing and could potentially allow Halle to take some independent steps if she works hard enough.

Dogsthorpe Fire Station donated a total of £1,200 to Halle’s appeal after raising a total of £2,725 at an open day earlier this month.

On a visit to the station to say thank you to some of the firefighters who helped raise the money, Halle’s mum Fran praised the firefighters for all their hard work in raising the funds, which take the appeal to just over the £50,000 mark.

“We are so grateful. Their donation is overwhelming. We didn’t have any expectations, we didn’t know if it would be £50 or £100, so this is a huge amount for us.”

Fran said Halle is on constant medication for pain relief but says the operation, booked to take place in August, will allow her to come off pain relief medication completely. The operation also has the potential to allow Halle to take independent steps without her K-Walker if she works hard enough.

Halle’s dad Tim added: “We are really humbled to have been chosen. It’s brilliant to get this amount of money from the fire service. We came to the open day and it was immense. You could see all the hard work everyone had put into the day.”

Halle and her brother, Theo, seven, got to meet the firefighters on their visit and have a photo whilst sitting on board a fire engine.

Watch Commander Tony Fitzjohn said: “Every open day we try to find a local charity or person so we can give back to the community. It is nice to be able to give this money to Halle’s family to potentially help Halle to walk again and give her a better quality of life.”

Firefighter Phil Gould added: “It was nice to meet Halle and her family and hear where our money will go. Our open day is a community event and is always popular with the people of Peterborough. It is important to everyone at the station to put some of the money raised back into the local community.”

Events at the open day earlier this month included dunk-the-firefighter, a coconut shy, face painting and a hose reel challenge, with other popular attractions including a tour of the smoke house, using a thermal imaging camera, chip pan fire demonstrations and a drill by the duty watch who rescued casualties from a simulated fire on the third and fifth floors of the drill tower.

Vivien, a 1932 Vintage Diesel Fire Engine maintained by the Vivien Fire Engine Trust, was also there along with Dennis Rolls, a vintage petrol engine from the Peterborough Volunteers Fire Brigade.
The Fire Service’s incident command unit also attended with outside organisations the Victims Support Unit and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).

A link to Halle’s fundraising page can be found here.