Brighton Marathon mum helpping fund disabled Redbourn boy’s educationn

A ONCE-overweight woman has become a severely disabled Redbourn boy’s “marathon hero” to raise funds for his schooling after the county council refused to fund his education in another county.

Suzannah and Andy Goodchild, whose seven-year-old son Freddie has a rare neurological condition, say they are in a cycle of “eternal fundraising plight” to pay for his education.

Freddie was born with a rare condition called congenital bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria, which means he has global developmental delay and epilepsy.

It costs the family thousands of pounds a year for his therapeutic education at The PACE Centre, a charity based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

The family of six is grateful their friend Nikki Stephenson is helping Freddie by running in the Brighton marathon this Sunday.

Nikki, 41, recently lost over five stone and has channelled her new-found energy into the sport.

She is taking part in the marathon, her first full one, to raise funds for both Freddie and PACE, which provides tailor-made, intensive programmes and therapeutic education for children with physical disabilities.

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Suzannah said: “We knew when we were expecting Freddie that he had brain damage and whilst we would never judge anyone else for doing it differently we were determined to continue with the pregnancy in spite of medical advice not to.

“He’s now seven years old and is amazing. He’s happy and has nothing but smiles and love and laughter for the world.

“Freddie has become so much more independent and confident as a result of all the school has done for him.”

She explained that because Freddie’s schooling was extremely expensive, the county council as education authority had refused to fund it.

Suzannah added: “We are left with no choice but to raise the tens of thousands of pounds it costs each year to keep him at the school where he is happy, loved and learning so many skills.

“We rely on the benevolence and kindness of our friends and family constantly and hold several fundraising events each year.”

She is proud of the skills Freddie has acquired at PACE, where he has learned to take some steps with help, pedal a trike a short distance and communicate through “eye-pointing” and vocalisation.

Suzannah said: “As a consequence he has become a more independent, outgoing and content little boy with the dignity to be more in control of his life. Unfortunately we receive no statutory funding for this.”

Freddie has had a challenging start to 2012 as he had major hip surgery in January, and suffered post operative pneumonia resulting in a pulmonary embolism.

Suzannah described Nikki as Freddie’s “marathon hero ” and said the family was “eternally grateful for absolutely any donation.”

To help support Freddie, please go to