Story of brave boy sparks charity gig

Motherly Love: Eight-year-old Joel Rogers of Darley Dale, who has cerebral palsy, is being supported by his mum Jodie as he prepares for a life-changing operation to help him to walk unaided.
Motherly Love: Eight-year-old Joel Rogers of Darley Dale, who has cerebral palsy, is being supported by his mum Jodie as he prepares for a life-changing operation to help him to walk unaided.

MUSICIANS were so moved by the recent Mercury story about brave boy Joel Rogers that they have planned a singalong evening to raise funds for his continuing care.

Guitarist John Gill and piano-player Gerry Kreibich hope to pack the Temple Hotel, Matlock Bath, tomorrow evening when they take to the stage to help pull in the pounds for the Darley Dale youngster who has cerebral palsy.

The eight-year-old underwent major ground-breaking surgery at the end of last year to help him walk unaided for the very first time.

The evening, which kicks off 7.30pm, promises to be a noisy but tuneful event featuring a long list of musical favourites. The musicians will be joined by John’s singer father, ‘Basement Jack Gill’, who is still going strong at 89, and there will be a music quiz and fish and chips supper.

Landlord of the Temple Hotel, Chris Richardson, said the good cause has helped stir interest.

He said: “Admission is free, but we’re thrilled by the generosity of people who have given us items to auction and raffle.”

Joel became one of the first children in the UK to have the pioneering procedure to help him walk independently.

The Darley Churchtown pupil, who lives on Oaker Drive with his mum Jodie, and brother Niall, is now recovering from the operation he had at a Bristol hospital in December.

The operation, called selective dorsal rhizotomy, involves entering the spinal cord and isolating the nerves that are sending the false signals to legs. The cutting of these nerves allows for improvement in leg movement and a greater potential for independent walking.

With a 100 per cent success rate so far, hopes are cautiously high from his mum Jodie – who says he is slowly progressing.

She explained: “He is working hard in his physio and we hope he will take his first independent steps in the next few months.

“The support from the community has been amazing.

“We are grateful that people are helping to raise money.”

Jodie says that £6,000 is needed over the next 12 months to help pay for equipment and Joel’s physio.

A Just Giving on-line account has already raised nearly £1,830 and can be found at /www.justgiving.com/helpjoeltowalk