Fitzwilliam's Tommy is in step to help granddad

A seven-year-old from Fitzwilliam will be stepping out with his mum tomorrow (Saturday) to raise money in honour of his granddad.

Tommy Westhead decided he wanted to do something to raise money for research into multiple sclerosis after his grandfather was diagnosed with a progressive form of the disease.

MS is a condition which affects the central nervous system, and can cause mobility problems, fatigue and pain.

Gerry Collins, 56, was told he had MS a year-and-a-half ago, just months before Tommy moved from his native Bermuda to Fitzwilliam with his mum, dad and younger brother.

They now live at Central Avenue, in the house where Tommy's dad, Andrew, grew up.

Tommy's mum, Bermuda-born Sara Westhead, 33, will join her son on the 4.2km Wheel And Walk event, being held by the National MS Society at Roundhay Park in Leeds.

Mrs Westhead, who is the Kinsley and Fitzwilliam grassroots correspondent for the Express, said since the diagnosis her father's health had deteriorated.

The mum-of-two, who herself suffers from the chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia, said the walk would be an emotional event.

She said: "My father is not the only member of the family who has been diagnosed with MS. My uncle was diagnosed and my cousin is in the process of being diagnosed.

"We have a family history of these neurological conditions, there is Parkinson's in my family as well and I have fibromyalgia."

She said her father now found life more difficult, adding: "My dad was very active, especially in the church, doing a lot of volunteering stuff. But he officially went on disability last week. He's gone from being able to do all this stuff to having to walk with two sticks. He also has a wheelchair which he needs in certain circumstances.

"This was all Tommy's idea. He wanted to do something for his 'pop pop', as he calls my dad. My dad was really touched. He cried – they are extremely close."

Mrs Westhead and Tommy, who goes to Crofton Infant School, will walk the course wearing special T-shirts and waving Bermuda flags. They will be cheered on by Mr Westhead and Tommy's three-year-old brother, Jonathan.

The duo have so far collected 110 in sponsorship but hope to meet a fundraising target of 250.

To sponsor Tommy, visit www.justgiving.com/tommymswalk