Elmswell: Little girl is visited by a large four-legged friend after her operation

Amelia Jane Austin-Ryder is recovering after an operation at home in Elmswell. She is visited by her

Amelia Jane Austin-Ryder is recovering after an operation at home in Elmswell. She is visited by her favourite horse, Malcolm, from Hill Farm Stables, and stables owner, Sarah Moorbey. - Credit: Archant

A young girl from Elmswell who is recovering from a major operation has had an unusual surprise visit at her home.

Amelia Jane Austin-Ryder, nine, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was “absolutely thrilled” when Malcolm, the horse she rides at Hill Farm Stables in Elmswell, popped by last week.

As Amelia Jane’s house has been specially-adapted for her, Malcolm was able to trot straight to her bedroom, which is on the ground floor.

Sali Austin said her daughter, a pupil at Great Whelnetham VC Primary School, would not be able to ride Malcolm for a year to 18 months while she recovers from surgery which she underwent at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds last month.

The mother-of-four, 50, said: “She was thrilled to see him and he almost seemed thrilled to see her.”

Miss Austin said bringing Malcolm, who she described as a “real gentle little star,” to Amelia Jane was the idea of Sarah Moorbey, who runs Hill Farm Stables.

“From the top of her legs down she’s in cast so she’s totally outstretched the whole time whether in her wheelchair or bed and it’s just finding ways of lifting her spirits,” Miss Austin said.

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“She’s had an abundance of people visiting her: her teachers and school have come, all her friends have come.”

Already there are positive post-operation signs as Amelia Jane can now, for the first time, wiggle her toes. “If she didn’t have the operation she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life which I didn’t want for Amelia,” Miss Austin said.

She wanted to thank her friends for the support they had offered through “this difficult time”, as well as the hospital which she said had been “superb”.

Miss Austin launched the Amelia Jane Inspirational Trust, which provides physical therapies for youngsters with additional needs, last year.

The trust is currently paying for seven children to have free horseriding every week at Hill Farm Stables and it also funds pet therapy for youngsters and their siblings at Nowton Farm Shop in Bury.