With summer just around the corner, 18 year old Callum Watson received a Christmas gift worth waiting for when he was presented with his first tricycle at Castle Gardens in Sherborne. Callum was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome at an early age, a genetic condition causing learning disabilities, and asked Father Christmas for the bike when he met him at Castle Gardens last December. Father Christmas then persuaded his good friend John Eke to raise the £765 required to pay for the tricycle, which is designed to fold away so it can be easily transported.
John and his wife, Pauline Eke, have been fundraising around their hometown of Evershot since Christmas, where Callum’s mother, Sadie Watson, works as a Senior Teaching Assistant at the local Stickland’s Primary School. The Gardens Group then offered to match the funds raised by John and Pauline, to make sure that Callum was able to receive his first set of wheels in time for summer.
Callum's mother, Sadie Watson, explains; “The support our family has received from organisations such as The Fragile X Society and Fiveways School in Yeovil has been extraordinary, but we never imagined that someone would take it upon themselves to make Callum’s Christmas wish come true. He’s absolutely thrilled with his first bike, so we’d like to say a huge thank you to John and Pauline, The Gardens Group and everyone who donated.”
John Eke continues; “My wife and I were delighted with the opportunity to make just one person really happy, so it’s been an absolute pleasure to raise funds for Callum’s first tricycle. It was great to see how eager he was to take it for a spin around the garden centre and it’s obvious that he’ll pick it up in no time!”
Louise Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, adds; “It’s been such a joy to be part of Callum getting his first tricycle and we were truly inspired by John and Pauline’s commitment to the cause. Getting your first bike is a big day for anyone, so it was a lovely moment and we look forward to hearing all about the family’s cycle rides this summer.”
Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic condition affecting around 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 6,000 females. It is the most common known cause of inherited learning disabilities, with behavioural features including a short attention span, impulsiveness, over activity and sensory problems, as well as ongoing speech and communication difficulties.