Appeal for Annie’s Garden

(l-r) Ruby, six, and Annie Mansell, three, of Wombwell, are on the swing in their garden, and their parents are hoping for help to provide a garden for Annie, who has a very rare genetic condition. Picture: Andrew Roe
(l-r) Ruby, six, and Annie Mansell, three, of Wombwell, are on the swing in their garden, and their parents are hoping for help to provide a garden for Annie, who has a very rare genetic condition. Picture: Andrew Roe

WONDER tot Annie Mansell has battled through her first three years - but now she needs a place to play.

Little Annie’s health is blighted by a rare condition shared by only 100 youngsters across the world.

As a sufferer of Tetrasomy X and hypotona, Annie, of Wombwell, has problems with speaking, walking, her sight and her hearing.

Last December she took her first steps, and she is desperate to play freely with her six-year old sister.

But the garden on Neville Close that she shares with Ruby, and mum and dad Rachel and Craig, is unsafe. WellChild, the national charity for sick children, is calling for local volunteers to help make it Annie-friendly.

Mum Rachel, 37, explained: “We moved here for ease of access. The garden is a bonus, but it’s very uneven and Annie falls. She has weak joints and muscle tone. She loves to be outside, but we don’t have the time or the money to make the garden right.”

WellChild aims to transform the garden to a safe and stimulating area in two days. With the right fencing and rubber flooring or fake grass, Annie could enjoy the outdoors all summer, with some sensory additions such as raised flower beds to plant her own herbs.

Rachel and Craig had some good news at Easter, with confirmation that Annie will be statemented. “You have no idea how hard you have to fight when you have a child with special needs,” said Rachel. “It’s a real learning curve.” Annie has had one operation for a cleft palate and may need another. Her prognosis is uncertain as her needs are complex. To help Wellchild, contact 0845 4588171 or email helpinghands@wellchild.org.uk