Rallying for Ralph

Rachel, Ralph, Stewart and Oscar Simon
Rachel, Ralph, Stewart and Oscar Simon

A family has spoken of its delight after the local community pledged to help their little boy.

Earlier this month, the Guardian reported how the parents of 11-year-old Ralph Simon were desperately trying to find the funds to pay for a £5,500 special bed for their son.

Ralph, who lives with mum Rachel, dad Stewart, and older brother Oscar in Croston, near Leyland, has a rare genetic condition called Angelman Syndrome, which means he can’t talk, and struggles with movement.

He relies on a high-sided bed to prevent him from falling out and hurting himself in the night, but he is outgrowing his current one.

Because of national funding cuts to the NHS, the family must pay for a new one themselves.

Now, after speaking to the Guardian about their ordeal, they have received £2,100 in donations from generous family, friends and neighbours, and more fund-raising feats are on the horizon.

Rachel, 41, said: “We’re really overwhelmed and surprised, and so grateful.

“The response has just been amazing.

“People we knew have spoken to us and said they didn’t realise how difficult it can be for us, and what we were going through.

“We don’t really talk about it much, but we’re so thankful for the support.

“People are seeing this as a cause they want to help with, and we appreciate it.”

The Croston community has also come together to support the Simons, and a number of events have been organised to help raise even more money.

Last week, there was a Motown and Northern Soul night at the Black Horse pub, which raised more than £700, and more events are planned during the rest of the month.

This Sunday and Monday, November 25 and 26, the Grapes pub is hosting a special Lancashire Day, with stalls from local suppliers such as Bretherton Bakery, Dewlay Cheese, Clarkson’s and Lancashire Crisps.

There will also be dancing from Stone The Crows Morris Dancers (a favourite of Ralph’s) on Sunday, and the Leyland Morris Men on Monday.

Landlady Helen Stevenson said: “I’d already organised the event and I wanted to do it for a good cause, so when I saw the Simon family’s plight, it all just fell into place.

“I felt quite touched by their story, and I just wanted to help.”

The attractions take place from 1pm until 4pm on Sunday, and from 7pm on Monday, when there will also be a Lancashire quiz at 9pm.

Another event to raise money for Ralph’s new bed is a Winter Disco at Croston Sports and Social Club.

It has been organised specifically in the hope of raising funds for the much-needed bed, and is aimed at families with children aged nine to 13.

It takes place next Friday, November 30, and tickets can be ordered from Janet Goulding on 01772 600260.

A webpage has also been set up for anyone wanting to donate money, which is supported by The Legacy Rainbow House.

Visit www.justgiving.com/ralphsbedappeal