Shoppers and staff help Talia

Middleton Grange shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft pictured at the fundraising display.
Middleton Grange shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft pictured at the fundraising display.

SHOPPERS and staff have boosted a battling youngster with a donation of more than £300.

Middleton Grange Shopping Centre marked the festive period by setting up a Christmas display in support of Talia Foster.

Generous shoppers got behind the cause, raising an impressive £270. That was boosted by shopping centre staff who coughed up a further £70 raised in an office raffle.

The donation is another boost for the Foster family, who have been taken aback by the “unbelievable” support of the community.

Talia’s mum, Clair, 37, said: “With it being the Christmas period and people going out to buy for their own children, I honestly didn’t think the display would raise this much.

“It’s fantastic.”

The money will help fund specialist equipment and vital physiotherapy sessions for Talia.

The youngster, who has featured in the Mail on a number of occasions, bravely battles against a daily ordeal of seizures.

She is forced to take eight different types of medication every day to treat various conditions.

Mark Rycraft, Middleton Grange Shopping Centre manager, said he is delighted to be able to support Talia.

As well as raising money through the display and raffle, Mark announced last month that all of the cash raised through events in the next 12 months will go towards the youngster.

He also gave Talia a festive treat when he visited the youngster at her home dressed as Santa.

He said: “We arranged the Breakfast with Santa event in the shopping centre and invited Talia, but unfortunately she wasn’t very well and couldn’t make it.

“We didn’t want her to miss out so I went round there dressed as Santa with some presents.

“It was a wonderful experience and fantastic to spend time with all of the family.”

Clair, who is married to Brendan, 35, and is also a mum of Callum, 16, and Gabrielle, seven, added: “We can’t believe that people are still doing so much to support Talia.

“We are still getting phone calls off people who are organising events and who want to donate money.

“People in the town are so generous, I’m so glad I live in Hartlepool and nowhere else.”

More than £34,000 has so far been raised in support of Talia.

That money has gone towards numerous trips to specialist physiotherapy centres around the country and equipment in the family home.