Toby Hawkbridge is a 6 year old boy with a dream – to walk. Now Toby has been given new hope thanks to the help he’s received from the staff and customers of rail operator National Express East Anglia.
Toby has Cerebral Palsy and is in need of an operation which will help him walk unaided, but the operation can only be performed in the USA and at a cost of £50,000-£60,000.
Bob and Mary Urch, Toby’s grandparents, work at Harlow Town station and together with their colleagues put on their thinking caps to consider how they could raise the necessary funds.
Staff across the company pledged their support and set about arranging a plethora of fundraising activities.
Customers at local Hertfordshire and Essex stations have shown their support and in just seven short months the target of £50,000 has been reached.
Kevin Walton National Express East Anglia‘s Harlow Town Area Manager said:
“It has been remarkable how many staff and customers have rallied around to help. Our colleagues have shown a great deal of initiative and dedication in the events they’ve organised.
“I’d also like to thank all of those people passing through our stations who have pledged their support. We’ve been really touched by how many customers have supported Toby’s dream.”
National Express East Anglia staff arranged a wide variety of fund-raising activities to help make Toby’s Dream become a reality.
Paul Bush, ticket office supervisor at Bishop’s Stortford undertook a sponsored walk with his family from Braintree Station through the Flitch Way Country Park to Bishop’s Stortford station raising close to £300.
To the delight of local commuters, Lloyd Griffin, station care assistant at Bishop’s Stortford station, played the organ at two railway stations raising £600 and he also donated the fee he receives for playing the organ at his local church.
Mark Young of Harlow Town Ticket office organised a Country and Western Evening which 150 people attended – whilst his colleague Sue Vincent spent two whole days wrapping and decorating the prizes for the raffle – together they raised £1750 through this single event.
Ian Bibby of Sawbridgeworth station even underwent a sponsored slim!
There have also been many fundraising activities outside the railway too, with donations coming in from the Lions Club, Masonic Lodge and Broxbourne Fire Station – who recently raised £1,000 for Toby through a sponsored charity car wash. Many shops, pubs and local businesses have also made donations.
Bob and Mary Urch of Harlow Town station said:
“We’d like to say a really big thank you to everyone who has helped make Toby’s dream a reality. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received.
“In just seven short months we have raised the £50,000 necessary for Toby and his parents to travel to the St Louis Children’s Hospital in America for his life-changing operation.
“The operation, due on the 30th September will mean Toby can manage without his wheelchair, which will improve his quality of life immeasurably.
“The family expects Toby to be home in the middle of November. This wouldn’t have been possible without the enormous amount of support we’ve had from both our colleagues and our customers. We’d like to say a sincere heart-felt thank you to everyone who’s helped.”
For more information about the fundraising activities visit the website.