Hartlepool’s new gym saddles up to help Alfie Smith

Alfie Smith officially opens the Xercise4less gym in Hartlepool with H'Angus and sales and marketing manager Karl Brown.
Alfie Smith officially opens the Xercise4less gym in Hartlepool with H'Angus and sales and marketing manager Karl Brown.

Hartlepool’s newest gym is saddling up to help battling Alfie Smith.

Nine-year-old Alfie, who has cerebral palsy, needs to raise £50,000 to allow him to undergo Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) in Leeds.

The support has been incredible so far. Everyone has been wonderful.

Annie Slalley

The surgery will give the Throston Primary School pupil the chance to walk unaided and pain free for the first time.

Alfie joined Hartlepool United mascot H’Angus at Middleton Grange shopping centre for the opening of the new Xercise4less gym, whose staff have joined forces with workers from the centre and Santander to stage a fund-raising event on December 16 and 17.

The gym is providing static bikes and volunteers aim to peddle the equivalent of the distance from Hartlepool to Land’s End over the two days.

Alfie and mum Annie Slalley are overwhelmed with the backing and encouragement they have received.

“I am really lucky and grateful,” said Alfie, while Annie added: “The support has been incredible so far. Everyone has been wonderful.

“I was not expecting it to go this fast.”

The fund-raiser will kick off on Friday, December 16, with a tombola stall featuring a range of prizes up for grabs.

Middleton Grange manager Mark Rycraft said anyone who wished to donate a prize for the draw could drop it off at the centre’s customer service desk.

Mark believes the opening of Xercise4less will be a major boost for Hartlepool: “It is nice to see another business let in addition to the other five we have added this year,” he said.

“This will bring people into Hartlepool, which will benefit other businesses in the centre and the town.”