Village rallies for brave teenager

A VILLAGE inspired by the courage and vitality of a severely disabled teenager has raised enough money to send her on a dream holiday – to swim with dolphins.

By David Green

A VILLAGE inspired by the courage and vitality of a severely disabled teenager has raised enough money to send her on a dream holiday - to swim with dolphins.

Kayleigh Burrows, 17, and her mother, Sylvia, are due to fly to Portugal for a once-in-a-lifetime experience arranged through the Dreams Come True charity.

The trip is costing £800 - most of which has been raised by villagers at Fressingfield where the family has lived for more than 30 years.

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Kayleigh was a perfectly normal baby until the age of five months when - on the night of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster - she began vomiting and suffering convulsions.

Over the next three weeks the child experienced many fits, up to 35 a day at one time, and suffered a stroke. Her life, and that of her family, had changed for ever.

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"Doctors thought at first it was meningitis and it wasn't until her third major operation, at the age of ten, that they finally discovered it was a virus affecting her brain. It had been growing there all those years," said Mrs Burrows.

Kayleigh, whose operations were carried out by specialists at Kings College Hospital in London, has remained a very lovable child - despite having limited speech and only being able to walk with great difficulty.

"She is full of life and has a strong determination. She loves swimming, dancing and the television game shows.

"She is interested in all kinds of sea creatures and will love swimming with the dolphins," said Mrs Burrows who has two other daughters and two grandchildren.

Kayleigh also enjoys flying, having twice been to Greece for holidays with her parents, and is now set to take to the skies once more.

The trip was the idea of Michael Flounders, a Fressingfield resident who has himself battled courageously to overcome serious disability following a fall while playing in the garden with his children.

Mr Flounders' own daughter, Poppy, had experienced the thrill of swimming with dolphins and he thought Kayleigh, a pupil at the Warren Special School at Carlton Colville, should have the same opportunity.

He and other villagers organised a series of fund-raising events and, together with a donation from Harleston Lions the money has been raised over the past five months.

In fact, more than enough money has been raised and a cheque for the excess, expected to be more than £200, is to be presented by Kayleigh later this month to the Dreams Come True charity.

Julie Bottjer spokeswoman, said the charity's aim was to try to fulfil the dreams of seriously or terminally ill children aged between two and 21.

Donations can be sent to the charity at York House, Knockhundred Row, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9DQ. Further information can be obtained by telephoning 01730 815000.

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