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Battling Hartlepool lad Harley steps out for disabled children’s charity

Harley Murray with his mum Laura Boreland.
Harley Murray with his mum Laura Boreland.

Battling Harley Borland will put his best foot forward to raise money for disabled youngsters this weekend.

The Hartlepoool six-year-old suffers from a rare condition called hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), which affects the muscles in his legs.

Harley Murray, with his mum Laura Boreland.

Harley Murray, with his mum Laura Boreland.

It means he has difficulty walking and has to use a wheelchair for longer distances.

But tomorrow, Harley and mum Laura will take part in a sponsored ‘Wheels and Wellies’ walk around Gateshead’s Saltwell Park to raise cash for charity Contact, which supports families with disabled children.

Harley’s condition causes the muscles in his legs to tighten, affecting his walk and making long distances difficult.

“He walks right on his tiptoes, so he has splints he has to wear during the day,” said Laura.

He is really bright and really bubbly - he will try anything.

Laura Boreland

“He has got a wheelchair for longer distances and has to wear something to stretch his knees at night, but he only has to wear them for 15 minutes.

“He has medication which relaxes his muscles - but we have to be careful with that because if we give him too much, it makes him wobbly.

“It is a lifetime condition but it gradually gets worse.

The Sacred Heart School pupil refuses to let his condition hold him back.

“He is really bright and really bubbly - he will try anything,” said Laura.

“He plays football with his friends - he can’t really keep up but he always tries. He does not let anything bother him - he just gets on with it.”

Laura is looking forward to Sunday’s event and the chance to meet other families coping with childhood disability.

“I just thought it would good to do, it is a chance to meet other people, other families in the same position,” she said.

“And it is important for Harley to know he is not the only one with challenges - it can be hard when you don’t know anybody else who knows what it is like for you.

“The physio has just put us in touch with a family with a little boy who has the same thing and that will be really good for Harley, I think.”

Single mum Laura, who also has a two-year-old son Finley, has been grateful for the support from Contact.

“It can be difficult to know where to turn to get help for your disabled child,” she said.

“Contact has provided me with invaluable support. I have signed up to the Wheels and Wellies walk as both me and Harley would love to raise money for families with disabled children.”

Contact’s North East team has been supporting families with disabled children in the region for 17 years.

The charity’s first sponsored Wheels & Wellies Walk will see children and families take on a 1km or 3km wheelchair and pushchair accessible loop around the park, to raise funds to ensure the charity continues its work.

To sign up to the Wheels and Wellies walk email: fundraising@contact.org.uk.