Fund-raisers reach £8k target for Wigan schoolboy's sensory dog

Stefanie and Freddie, front, with fund-raisers Paul Johnson, Andy Pinkerton and Shirley Ward
Stefanie and Freddie, front, with fund-raisers Paul Johnson, Andy Pinkerton and Shirley Ward

A delighted mother has thanked caring fund-raisers who collected thousands of pounds to buy an assistance dog for her young son.

More than £8,000 has been raised in just a few weeks to pay for a sensory dog for five-year-old Freddie Winnard, from Orrell.

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The Billinge St Aiden’s Primary School pupil has autism and has never spoken a word, but his mother Stefanie Hurst believes a dog could make a huge difference for him.

Her friend and colleague, sport therapist Andy Pinkerton, organised a challenge to scale the height of Burj Khalifa in Dubai - the world’s tallest building - on stair climbers at Total Fitness in Marus Bridge.

Eight people took part and the cash came rolling in.

Stefanie, who works as a physiotherapist at the gym, said: “I want to thank everyone for their generosity. I can’t put into words how thankful I am and how kind everyone has been. I just didn’t ever think it would be possible.”

She said she would be “forever grateful” to Andy for leading the fund-raising.

Andy, who lives in Winstanley, said: “Everything has gone really well. We have had great support and it has been a great success.”

He had planned to organise further events, but will not need to do that after reaching the target.

Stefanie and her partner Dean Winnard, who also have a two-year-old son, are now going through the process of getting a sensory dog for Freddie.

They will take part in an assessment later this week and hope to have a dog in around nine months.