Blake zooms around for special day

Little Blake Barley got to meet his hero Fireman Sam for his fourth birthday which was celebrated at Planet Zoom in Dereham.

Residents in the town and readers of The Times helped raised more than �75,000 last year so the Toftwood youngster could have life-changing surgery in America over Christmas.

The operation helped Blake, who has a form of cerebral palsy, to walk unaided for the first time since he was born.

His mother, Debbie Barley, said: 'He did have a wonderful day. Last year we wouldn't have dreamed he could have a Planet Zoom party and enjoy it as much as he did. Although he isn't yet running around like his friends he has so much more freedom of movement and it really showed on his little face!

'Another huge improvement is that he didn't have his walking frame at all this birthday - as it's left permanently at nursery for outdoor play only.

'Once again this fantastic improvement is down to his operation and aftercare - made possible by the amazing kindness of everyone who supported his appeal.

'We still have people stop us when we are out and about and ask how Blake is – and it's so warming to know that people genuinely care and are still wanting to know how he is progressing.

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'The community spirit that enveloped us last year didn't end when the appeal reached target, and for us as a family that is very touching.'

During his special day he got to stand next to a Fireman Sam balloon sculpture made by Adi's Balloons.