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A MELKSHAM charity raising money to fund a life-changing operation for a local four-year old boy, has received a welcome boost of £3,595 from local building society, Nationwide.
Raising for Raife is a charity set up by the family and friends of Raife Wilson, who was born with cerebral palsy, a condition which affects movement and co-ordination, making it hard for him to balance. In the summer, Nationwide made it their charity of the year for fundraising.
Staff at the Melksham branch, along with their colleagues at branches in Chippenham, Marlborough, Devizes and Swindon, are hoping to raise £25,000 to help pay for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), a special operation that will help Raife walk on his own.
Money has been raised in all the branches by hosting cake sales, raffles and a ‘name the teddy’ competition.
A total of £45,000 is needed for the operation. With friends and family already having raised £22,000 since late 2016, the money raised by the building society brings the total amount to £25,595.
Raife’s mother, Laura Wilson, told Melksham News, “We are completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of all the Nationwide branch team members in Wiltshire (Melksham, Devizes, Marlborough, Chippenham and Swindon). They are going above and beyond their job role for our little boy.”
To thank and encourage staff with their fundraising, the Wilson family has been visiting Nationwide branches across the county. Recently the family paid a visit to the Swindon Croft branch, based at the building society’s headquarters.
Laura said, “Everybody was so interested in meeting Raife and learning about his journey at the head office.
“He was showered with gifts, treated like a VIP and was allowed access to areas that even staff are not allowed into!
“He had so much fun and particularly enjoyed the glass lift and the remote control car that was gifted to him. Thank you to all the staff and to Mrs Wilcox at Forest and Sandridge School for her support by authorising Raife’s absence for this special day.”
Customer service manager for the Swindon Croft branch, Debbie Mills said, “It was so overwhelming for everyone meeting Raife and his parents Laura and Andrew. It really helped to show us the difference we are making – it becomes more real.
“We have dedicated a year to raise money for Raising for Raife, and we’ll be holding cake sales in our branches until Christmas. In the new year we will be having a big meeting to think about how we can raise more money. I think a summer barbecue is definitely on the cards!”