Gazette's Give us a chance appeal

‘Right from the start centre was fantastic’ says Marlborough family

Julia Kerin with three-year-old son Paddy

The Gazette is appealing to raise £10,000 to help a special needs nursery in Devizes continue its incredible work

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Marlborough mum Julia Kerin thought her son Paddy, three, might never walk after being diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder.

But six months ago after intensive therapy at Devizes Opportunity Centre he took his first step – and now he loves to play outside with his two big brothers.

Mrs Kerin, 47, and her husband Michael, 49, of Hazel Close, Marlborough, noticed Paddy was not developing in the same way that his brothers Liam, 12 and Niall, ten, had done when they were babies.

He was diagnosed with having a duplicate 19th chromosome but because the condition is so rare they are not sure what the future might hold.

Mrs Kerin said: “At eight or nine months he still wasn’t sitting up and was quite floppy.

“The person who first told me about Devizes Opportunity Centre was the woman who ran a music class I took him to, so we were not referred in the normal way.

“Right from the start the opportunity centre was absolutely fantastic.

“We were told that he would probably eventually walk but I was worried he might not. So when he took his first steps it was lovely.

“His speech is very slow. He says just a few words but can usually make us understand what he wants.

“He only has one working kidney but on the whole he has good health.

“He loves playing outside with his brothers, who are really good with him.”

Mrs Kerin and her computer consultant husband hope Paddy will get a place in a special unit at St Mary’s Infants School, Marlborough, but first they have to get him statemented.

Mrs Kerin said: “Devizes Opportunity Centre are being so helpful with that as it is quite a minefield to fill out the forms. We really hope he can go to the unit at St Mary’s as I don’t think he could cope in mainstream school.

“The opportunity centre does a fantastic job and I hope as many people as possible will help raise funds.”

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