12-year-old boy receives ‘best birthday present’ form the Budding Foundation

Clive Gravett, with Harley and Lauren Humphreys SUS-180909-093453001
Clive Gravett, with Harley and Lauren Humphreys SUS-180909-093453001

A 12-year-old disabled boy is celebrating his birthday with a specially adapted wheelchair donated to him by a charity in Hassocks.

Harley Humphreys from Burgess Hill has cerebral palsy and needed a new wheelchair to better suit his needs as he grows.

While the NHS funded part of the cost, there was a shortfall of £2,300.

The Budding Foundation, a charity based within the South Downs Heritage Centre have been able to provide the funds to make the new wheelchair a reality.

Harley required major hip surgery and therefore the new wheelchair was put on hold for 18 months whilst this took place.

Lauren Humphreys, Harley’s mother, said: “This new chair has around five years’ worth of growth room.

“It is a perfect fit, meaning he can just sit in it without needing to be strapped in, and he’s in a much more comfortable position.

“The headrest has speakers built into it, as Harley absolutely loves his music, and he can plug them into the computer whilst working at school too.

“It honestly is the best birthday present we could have ever asked for.”

The family met up with Clive Gravett, founder of the Budding Foundation and curator of the Budding Foundation Museum of Gardening at the Brighton Road-based Heritage Centre in Hassocks, to thank him and show how happy Harley is with his new set of wheels.

Mr Gravett said: “It’s a remarkable feeling to see the joy on Harley’s face from having the freedom to control where he goes.

“It’s really good to see where the money raised goes, and to see it change a young mans life forever is what this charity is all about.”

The Budding Foundation is predominately run by 65-year old retiree Mr Gravett who drafts in help from volunteers to assist him in running fundraising events.

The Budding Foundation is currently looking for volunteers to join their team of elves to help Father Christmas at South Downs Nurseries, the largest of the Tates centres in Sussex.

Mr Gravett said: “We ask what their favourite toy is on the application forms and have had some good answers.”

Last year the grotto raised £11,000 for The Budding Foundation, every penny taken by the grotto goes directly to the charity.

The job description states that no previous experience required to be an elf, but a love of Christmas is essential.

The Grotto will open in November and throughout December.

This year an online booking system has been introduced to avoid lengthy queues. See the website for more details.