IT’S the charity that’s captured the hearts and minds of the Eltham community.

Launched in March, 2011, the Freddie Farmer Foundation is already half way towards its target of raising £250,000 to open a specialist physiotherapy centre in SE London or north west Kent.

Supporters have climbed mountains, walked and run marathons, cycled to Paris, jumped out of aeroplanes and had a ball at all kinds of social events for the charity.

The inspiration has been the young man himself, eight-year-old Freddie Farmer, of Eltham, whose smile and infectious personality has lit up every event he attends.

Freddie, who goes to Montbelle primary school, was born at 28 weeks with cerebral palsy, weighing just 2lb 12oz. That first fighting spirit has developed into a bright, popular and seemingly tireless lad.

At present Freddie goes to a specialist centre near Oxford three times a year for three weeks. That’s getting up at 5am to get there in time. The treatment includes the “Spider”, elasticated ropes that allow the children to get vital support as they do their exercises.

A local centre for Freddie and children like him with severe mobility problems is the goal of the charity.

Freddie’s mum, Deanne Farmer, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received. People have been wonderful, including shoppers at Sainsbury’s Eltham who have really come up trumps.

“It can be exhausting at times and Freddie does get tired, but we are all inspired by the kindness and generosity people have shown. We’ve made great progress and are confident that we can reach our goal.”

Freddie’s granddad, Danny Catchesides, is one of the driving forces behind the campaign and it’s his quote that underpins the foundation as it goes into 2013: “We just want to get Freddie and children like him up on their feet.”

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