‘At his lowest points Mason has asked to have the leg amputated’ - Community rallies together to help sports-mad teen

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern in Dereham, is organising a conkers championship later

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern in Dereham, is organising a conkers championship later this month. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A community in Dereham has rallied together to help a sports-mad teenager to get back on his feet following complications from major surgery.

Mason Hart, of Ashill, between Watton and Swaffham, was born with a heart condition and first underwent open heart surgery when he was just 17 days old.

Now aged 17, the keen rugby fan has had to put his dreams on hold, which included playing competitively for Swaffham Rugby Club, due to on-going complications from his last surgery at the age of 13.

Mother, Sindy Hart, 53, said: 'We always knew he would need a stent when he was older.

'He loves his rugby and when he played, you would never have known anything was wrong with him but then he started getting chest pains at the age of 12.'

Mason travelled to the Evelina London Children's Hospital for the procedure and the next day began suffering from severe leg pain, barely able to walk 400 meters to the hospital cafeteria.

He was sent home but three weeks later was taken to a&e and eventually returned to Evelina.

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Mason underwent yet another operation where surgeons discovered he had a blood clot and a ruptured femoral artery. Despite surgery, he struggles to walk but last month the family finally had a break through when they visited Mason's new vascular surgeon. Rachel Bell, at Guy's Hospital, London, has suggested Mason takes up cycling for an hour a day to help the teen improve blood capacity flow to his calf muscle.

Miss Hart, who recently had surgery herself after being diagnosed with breast cancer, added: 'At his lowest points Mason has even asked to have the leg amputated.

'Cycling [could] hopefully give him something to smile about again.'

Now the landlord of Dereham pub, the Railway Tavern, wants to help raise money for a new bike for Mason.

Paul Sandford has previously raised funds to buy Mason an iPad to keep him entertained and up to date with his studies during his recovery nearly five years ago.

He said: 'I am happy to help the family out.'

The fundraiser will take place at the pub this Saturday from 7pm. There will be live music from Pirate Joe and 50p from every pint will be donated to the cause. Raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the day.