Hebburn author pays a visit to nursery children

Nursery children got a magical visit from an author who called in to read with them.

Children get a visit from author Tracey Horner.
Children get a visit from author Tracey Horner.

Toby, nine, struck up the unlikely friendship with Jodi Gilmour in Rockford, Illinois, after they were paired through a site called ‘I run 4’.

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The group hooks up people taking on running challenges with others physically less fortunate.

Children get a visit from author Tracey Horner.

Tracey visited Nurserytime Hebburn, in Victoria Road West, to read her story to children and staff, then talked to them about the book and took part in some craft sessions.

Nurserytime Hebburn manager Elena Scott said: “The story focus’ on inclusion and is based around her son’s friendship with an American athlete who completes running challenges to fund equipment for her son, creating a story about kindness and friendship.“Tracey came into our setting and read the story to the children and they quickly understood the narrative and message.

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"Tracey then supported the children alongside their key workers in making their own medals to take home.”

Toby suffered a hypoxic brain injury – a restriction on the oxygen being supplied to the brain during labour and sadly this resulted in a cerebral palsy diagnosis at five months old.

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Children get a visit from author Tracey Horner.

He needs equipment to help him sit, stand and walk.

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Jodi has dedicated her various races, including runs and triathlons, to Toby, and helped raise funds for his equipment online. She also sends him her medals.

The pair have been in touch regularly since they were matched, with the family becoming close friends.

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Tracey, who is also mum to Ethan, seven and Lucas, four, said: “Toby has spent his life so far, surprising us, bringing us joy, making us laugh and just being an absolute superstar.

Children get a visit from author Tracey Horner.
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"Although he has a great quality of life, he is happy and accepts the things he can and can't do, I think there will still be the odd moment of sadness, when there are things he knows he may miss out on.”

Jodi is hoping to take part in the Great North Run next year and finally meet Toby and his family in person.

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Children get a visit from author Tracey Horner.