Buggies take to Thetford streets in aid of charity

A group of mothers and toddlers created a scene when they took part in a “buggython” to raise money for charity.

Organised by Thetford mum Lucy Richardson, the group tied balloons to their buggies and walked more than two miles in aid of the Meningitis Research Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Ms Richardson, 28, a nursery worker from Juniper Close, who has a four month old son, Rory, was inspired to organise the event after her twin sister, Hannah Goddard, contracted meningitis at the age of 17, and her eldest sister Amy Ellis, 30, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Acetoacetly Thiolase Disorder at the age of one, which means her body can not covert her own body fat into energy.

While Ms Goddard made a full recovery, the family were left in limbo for two days while she was in a critical condition at the West Suffolk Hospital, and Ms Ellis was left with cerebral palsy after slipping into a coma at home at the age of 12 months. She was treated by Great Ormonst Street Hospital in London.

Ms Richardson, who completed the two-and-a-half mile walk with her two sisters and around 25 friends last week, said part of the aim was to raise awareness of meningitis.

She added: “With Hannah we thought she had flu and I wanted to fundraise because we all hear about all the symptoms but that wasn’t the case with Hannah. She only got the septicemia later.

“Being there and seeing her go through something like that was difficult, and hard for my mum as well.

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“I know for her it was a huge shock to go through the same feelings and seeing another of her children in intensive care.”

The group completed the Haling Walk in Thetford, beginning at Bridge Street car park, walking along the river to Blaydon Bridge and then back to the car park to begin the Spring Walk back along the river and towards Nuns’ Bridges and Nunsgate and then to Mill Lane and Button Island.

“I wanted to do a bit of fundraising and thought who can I be accessible to and these are the people I know,” Ms Richardson said. “It’s been really emotional for me and it’s difficult to talk about really but I’m so pleased to be doing it.

“You don’t realise how many people have been referred to Great Ormond Street or know someone who has or know someone who’s had meningitis.”