A SIMPLE piece of specialist equipment will allow a seven-year-old boy from Ramsbottom to maintain his independence and stay active.

Alex Mayo has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is unable to stand without support.

He also has chronic lung disease so receives oxygen support to help him breathe.

The brave little boy uses a manual wheelchair for most day-to-day activities but can walk with the help of a frame.

The Millwood School pupil was given a walking frame two years ago by leading charity Newlife Foundation for Children, but has now outgrown the equipment.

Now, the charity has launched a fundraising appeal to buy Alex a new frame, costing £1,913, so he can continue to get the health benefits obtained from walking.

Mum Tracey, of Newcombe Road, said: “For Alex a walking frame is his independence, it’s his legs - it’s what opens the world to him and allows him to walk.

“Alex is just seven so he wants to explore and do all the things he is capable of.

“It’s very important that he is able to walk on his own two feet.

“Having a frame and keeping Alex walking is also vital for his long-term health. Walking aid his breathing, strengthens his posture and prevents long-term problems occurring in his hips.”

The youngster has his own walking frame at school which was paid for by statutory services, but he is unable to take it home as it is too big to fit on the school bus.

Because the statutory services have been paid for one frame they are unable to provide funding for a second.

Tracey said she would love to get the new frame as soon as possible to help Alex, who has spent the last four years in hospital.

She added: “Recently Alex has had one illness after another. It started off with a chest infection, so we went to North Manchester General Hospital, but after a few days they discovered he had the adenovirus and tonsillitis, so we were transferred to Central Manchester University Hospital.

“He spent a week in intensive care there before going back to North Manchester for a further two weeks to take care of his chest infection.

“Then it was back to Central Manchester because he had breathing problems.

“We actually walked into hospital on June 8 and didn’t get home until last week. I just travelled around with him while my husband Peter brought us supplies.

“We’d love to have the walking frame as soon as possible - it would be a timely boost for Alex now he is back home.”

To help the Mayo family, call Newlife on 0800 988 4640.