A MOTHER, whose two-year-old daughter was left in a wheelchair after suffering inflammation of the brain, has set up a petition to urge the borough council to create a special park for disabled children.

Donna Haynes’ daughter Chloe Deeks spent six weeks in Southampton hospital after suffering encephalitis last February, and is now wheelchair-bound, brain-damaged, unable to talk, and has to be fed through a tube in her nose. Before the ordeal, she was a healthy toddler.

Miss Haynes, 31, from South Ham, Basingstoke, has two other children – Amy Stawt, six, and Connor Stawt, eight.

When their sister returned home from hospital on March 14, Miss Haynes wanted to take them all to a play park, but found there are no dedicated parks for disabled children in the borough.

She has now set up a petition via Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, which attracted 250 signatures in just a few days.

She said: “As part of your childhood, you enjoy outside space swinging on the swings at a local park. Disabled children are not catered for in this area to enjoy the simple things as able bodied children do.

“We have so many parks in the area so why not have just one for disabled children to enjoy, to laugh and have a tiny piece of a normal childhood?”

She added: “I will not just let my child sit there, and not be counted. There should be at least one place that parents can let their little stars shine.”

Miss Haynes said she has heard from parents of disabled children since setting up a Facebook page called Team Chloe, who agree with her view.

She said: “Chloe would need a swing that you can put a wheelchair on or wide ramps that I can push her up and down on.”

She added: “She has lost the use of her arms and legs. She will always be in a wheelchair. She understands what’s going on but has lost means of communication. This is what has happened and now the way forward is to rebuild her life.”

The former tanning technician and beauty specialist, who had to give up her business tanning celebrities and professional skaters on ITV’s Dancing on Ice to look after her daughter, said there are parks for disabled children in other towns, and believes Basingstoke is big enough to have one too.

She said: “It could be in Eastrop or War Memorial Park where children can go and have fun.”

To sign the petition, visit petitions.basingstoke.gov.uk/petitions.ti/ team.chloe.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council said the council will not be able to fully consider the petition until it closes in February, but added that as a temporary measure, it will install a swing at Eastrop Park suitable for a disabled child.


Do you have a view on this issue? Have your say by writing to The Letters Editor, The Gazette, Pelton Road, Basingstoke, RG21 6YD, email editor@basingstokegazette.co.uk, or comment online at basingstokegazette.co.uk/news