A FAMILY is hoping to raise £50,000 to help their little boy walk after his premature birth left him facing life in a wheelchair.

Four-year-old Finley Connelly was born three months prematurely and suffered a bleed on the brain which has left him with Cerebral Palsy.

As a result the Witham youngster, who goes to nursery in Hatfield Peverel, finds it painful to walk and often ends up falling over.

He also lives with a range of other unrelated conditions but earlier this year he and his family were told the youngster could have £50,000 life-changing surgery.

Aimee Connelly, Finley's mother, said: "The surgery itself will cost around £30,000 but the physio, which is the most important part, also costs money.

"His brain has been working in a particular way all his life and making him use different muscles to people who can walk without any issues.

"So the physio will be a case of training his brain to work in a different way."

The surgery, which is called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, eases muscular tightness and would give him the opportunity to be able to walk without pain.

SDR is not funded by the NHS and has estimated costs of £50,000 when all pre and post op costs are taken into consideration.

The operation would mean Finley would be able to walk with the help of an aid and would help the youngster be more independent as he gets older.

Mrs Connelly said: "He deserves it because he's such a fantastic character, if we don't do everything to give him this chance then I'll feel like he's been let down.

"He's very determined, we took him to Disneyland Paris for his birthday and he was so intent on walking.

"He has to wear a helmet when he goes outside at pre-school, in case he falls over.

"It's hard, it's been very hard work, people ask me how we do it but I'm a carer for work and then I go home and carer for Finley.

"I feel like Finley was meant for me because I'm determined to give him the best chance possible."

Visit www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/just4children/finleyssdrjourney to donate.