County Ground gigs will boost girl’s battle to walk

This Is Wiltshire: Alycia Ellis has been given VIP tickets to meet Peter Andre when he performs at the County Ground later this month Alycia Ellis has been given VIP tickets to meet Peter Andre when he performs at the County Ground later this month

TWO spectacular pop concerts will raise money for a life-changing operation for cerebral palsy sufferer Alycia Ellis.

Alycia, of Abbey Meads, who celebrated her eighth birthday yesterday, needs to raise more than £50,000 to fund an operation not available to her on the NHS.

The selective dorsal rhizotomy procedure would enable Alycia to walk unaided for the first time, giving her independence and enabling her to take part in activities with her friends.

Yesterday, the people behind the Big Summer Session concerts at the County Ground on July 26 and 27, announced that every £1 from every ticket sold from now on will go towards funding Alycia’s operation.

Kevin Metcalfe, chief executive officer at Verelogic Consultancy for the Big Summer Session said: “This little girl has touched my heart. After reading all the stories about her in the Adver I just knew we had to do something to help.

“As a parent myself, her story really touched me and she is such a lovely girl. I want to reach out to the people of Swindon and not just ask them to support the concert, but also to get behind Alycia because it is such a great cause.”

Alycia and her family were presented with VIP tickets to the Saturday night concert yesterday, which will allow her backstage access to meet Peter Andre.

Mum Natasha, who works in logistics at RAF Brize Norton where a number of fundraising events are taking place this year, said: “I am still in shock, we just feel absolutely honoured that they are doing this for us, we are so happy.

“It feels like the operation is getting closer. Even the professor who has been seeing Alycia has said enough is enough, parents of these children shouldn’t have to be doing all these fundraising, it really should be available to them on the NHS.”

The family have so far raised £12,000 but are desperate to reach the £50,000 needed for the operation and physiotherapy otherwise Alycia will be too old for it to have the desired effect.

Dad Chris, who is an undertaker, will take Alycia to meet the pop star on the day, along with her brother Corbin and sister Aaliyah.

“You see Peter Andre on the television and he seems like such a genuine bloke so I think Alycia will be excited on the day, maybe a little bit nervous,” he said.

“When they told us that money from the ticket sales would go towards Alycia it was just unbelievable. When I found out I just didn’t know what to say, it’s incredible. Just out of nowhere people’s kindness and generosity is overwhelming.

“Alycia has a good quality of life anyway because she never lets anything stop her, she will always find a way to do whatever anybody else is doing, but her quality of life will double after the operation.

“She’s never shown any frustration with her condition, she just gets things done. There’s no stopping her now.”

Four ticket booths for the music concerts have been set up around the town at Tesco in Ocotal Way, Asda Walmart in North Swindon, the Outlet Village and the Brunel Centre for people to get their hands on cheap tickets.

Standing tickets will be available for £25 instead of £35, while weekend tickets will be £40 instead of £60.

Family tickets will also be reduced to £90 for a family of four including two adults and two under 16s, while a weekend family pass will be £150 instead of £240.

The first of the concerts will take place on Friday, July 26, with acts such as Katy B, Wiley, Tinchy Stryder, Ms Dynamite, Luminites, McKnasty, Alexis Jordan and SD*Jem.

The Saturday night will see Peter Andre, 911, Blue, Atomic Kitten, Liberty X, Honeyz, Five and B*Witched take to the stage.

Tickets will be available at the four booths up until the day of the gigs. Tickets are also still available online at www.ticketmaster.co.uk, by searching for Big Summer Session, and £1 from every ticket sold either online or in the town will go towards Alycia’s operation.

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