A YOUNG girl on a quest to walk has thanked a local estate agent who raised £5,000 for her cause.

Maeve Norfolk, a four-year-old with cerebral palsy, can’t currently stand or walk unsupported, and is due to undergo special surgery.

Her therapy requires £45,000 worth of funding, but the latest donation – from a charity golf day at Haddon Hill – means she is well over halfway there.

The youngster from Brightwell-cum-Sotwell between Wallingford and Didcot, was given the boost by longstanding supporter James Gesner, a local estate agent.

Mr Gesner, 39 and also from Brightwell, has raised tens of thousands in four years for the Footsteps Foundation, which has supported Maeve at its Dorchester-on-Thames centre since she was 18 months old.

Speaking after the golf day, he said: “In 2017 in met Maeve and her family. She lives in the village I grew up in and is the same age as my daughter."

Now an ambassador for the charity, he continued: “This made me want to do as much as I can to help her and Footsteps and since 2015 I have raised over £40,000 (for Footsteps).”

Maeve, who relies on a walking frame to get around and uses a wheelchair for longer distances, said: “Footsteps is great because you do fun things like bowling and drumming and they help me to walk.”

Her story has captured local community hearts, with a number of events raising funds for bespoke shoes, a disability trike and physio equipment.

Mum Sian Norfolk added: “It’s difficult to imagine not having Footsteps available to help Maeve. Thanks to the team there, she has made amazing progress and is slowly learning to walk with sticks.

“The sessions are hard work but thanks to the expertise and ingenuity of the team, they are made as fun as possible, incorporating games and even music.”

Maeve will be eligible for spinal surgery to help reduce muscle spasms, but expensive pre and post surgery therapy is not available on the NHS.

To keep up to date with Maeve’s progress and donate, visit treeofhope.org.uk/maevenorfolk