Barford dad to brave harsh Scottish waters for children with cerebral palsy

Tom Williams with his son Bertie.

Tom Williams with his son Bertie.

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A Barford dad is braving the harsh seas of the Outer Hebrides to raise funds for children with cerebral palsy.

Tom Williams, along with two friends and his boss from work, will set off on their two-day 30-mile challenge on May 20, paddling in the cold sea on their own for six to seven hours each day.

The father-of-two is hoping to raise as much as he can for PACE, which supports children with cerebral palsy and their families.

He chose this particular cause in the name of his son Bertie, who fell very ill when he was nine days old.

Tom said: “He was at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for two weeks, where doctors eventually picked up a virus that had damaged part of his brain.

“His own immune system fought it off and he was discharged, but they could not tell us what his prognosis would be. They said he may be severely brain damaged or he may be fine. It was a case of wait and see, which was difficult for us as parents.”

At a follow-up check, it appeared that Bertie had stiff limbs, which led Tom and his wife Emily to fear that he may have cerebral palsy.

Tom said: “But now he is two and doing amazingly well, showing no signs of development issues, so we think we are pretty much out of the woods. That’s why I wanted to do something for the families who have had a different outcome.”

Cerebral palsy affects one in 400 babies, with more than 1,800 new cases in the UK each year. To sponsor Tom, visit www.justgiving.com/111-amigos or text ‘PANG70’ and the amount you want to donate ‘£X’ to 70070. To find out more about PACE, visit www.thepacecentre.org