SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Patrick Conyard is sitting comfortably – thanks to a specialist chair that could help to prevent the need for major surgery.

Patrick who lives with his parents in Christchurch, has complex disabilities and now has a feeding tube inserted into his stomach.

Until now, he had to sit in a bean bag for comfort although this didn’t adequately support his hips and spine.

He desperately needed a specialist seat costing £2,699, but local funding was not available.

After friends and family contributed £105, Patrick’s parents turned to the children’s disability charity, Newlife Foundation, which paid the balance.

Patrick’s dad Martin said: “He’s loving it! The new chair restrains him less yet seems to have given him better head control. Patrick is very happy with it – and so are we.”

His mum Gemma said Patrick is developing a hip problem, but the new chair should help prevent surgery.

She said: “Since Patrick has had a feeding tube fitted he will need to spend more time in a relaxed but secure position.

“This is pretty much the only option if we want him in the lounge with the rest of the family.”

Patrick has Cerebral Palsy, Idiopathetic Encephalopathy and severe Global Developmental Delay. He has seizures which are not well controlled, despite medication. He needs 24-hour postural support for his hips. Newlife has previously provided a sleep system for him to keep his legs appropriately positioned when he is in bed.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown said: “We are looking increasingly to local heroes to help us help children in individual counties – and Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Dorset can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children within the county.”

For more information, freephone 0800 988 4640.