Kind-hearted Freemasons have helped a Hartlepool schoolboy move three steps closer to achieving his walking dream.
Alfie Smith needs at least £50,000 to undergo a life-changing operation which could help him walk unaided and pain-free.
The family had already raised £33,000 towards the surgery and at least two years of physiotherapy - but they were £17,000 short of the target.
After hearing about the nine-year-old’s plight, Freemasons from the Hartlepool Lodge kickstarted a fundraising campaign.
After contacting other lodges in the area, they raised £3,000 for the youngster, who has cerebral palsy.
John Thompson from the Hartlepool Lodge said: “When we were told about Alfie and what he is trying to achieve, we were so glad to be able to help and to get Alfie three steps closer to his target.
The cheque for £3,000 is just amazing, it really has taken us a massive step closer to that total which really is now within our sights.John Thompson
“They are such a lovely family and Alfie is such a grateful little boy.
“It was lovely to meet them. You can see how much the support they are receiving means to them.”
Due to the intense physiotherapy Alfie has been doing, he has been told his body is suitable for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), which will be carried out in Leeds.
But before the operation can be booked Alfie needs to have a minimum of £50,000 funding available.
His mum Annie Stalley said: “The visit to see the Freemasons was fantastic.
“They were all really lovely, genuine gentlemen, who were really keen to hear about Alfie and his story.
“The cheque for £3,000 is just amazing. It really has taken us a massive step closer to that total which really is now within our sights.
“It really has put a spring back in my step and makes me believe that this can be achieved.
“We were really happy and are grateful for the donation, as it really has given us such a boost.
“Alfie doesn’t really understand, but he knows it would take us a long time to raise £3,000.
“He still can’t believe how much people are behind him - it really is amazing.”