Cleckheaton girl Tora inspires family and friends on charity walk

Tora Clapham

Tora Clapham

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Ilkley/Otley Reporter

A brave little girl who has a rare medical condition inspired almost 50 people to turn out for a sponsored walk and raise thousands of pounds for two charities close to her heart.

Four-year-old Tora Clapham was born with genetic condition Aniridia which affects her eyes. It means she is blind in her left eye and only has peripheral visions in her right.

Despite the condition and trips to Great Ormond Street in London, Tora is a happy little girl who uses a cane to navigate her environment and is learning Braille at her school, Howard Park Community School in Cleckheaton.

After being helped by the national charity Aniridia Network UK and also the Bradford Toy Library at St Luke’s Hospital, Tora and her family decided to raise money for them by organising a sponsored walk along the Spen Valley Greenway from Heckmondwike to Cleckheaton.

It raised £2,147 which will be split between the two good causes.

Tora’s parents Susan Blissett and Gordon Clapham, 42, of Howard Park, Cleckheaton, at first struggled to find any information about the congenital condition. Then Mrs Blissett, 34, also mother to eight-year-old Riley Blissett and one-year-old Zachariah Clapham, found Aniridia Network UK which has been a great support and source of information.

Since Tora’s diagnosis at three days old the family has become involved with the charity and with the money raised it is the ambition is to produce a leaflet to put into every hospital to help families in the same position as them.

The family wants to support Bradford Toy Library at St Luke's Hospital, as it helped the family by loaning them fibre-optic lights to stimulate Tora's eyesight.

Walkers on the day included Katherine Atkinson who has Aniridia and is one of the founding members of the Aniridia Network UK and Emma Fawcett and Michelle Neale, from the Bradford Toy Library, and their families.

Mrs Blissett said: “It was a lovely sunny day and the walk took an hour and a half.

“Tea, coffee and biscuits were served at the Central Methodist Church in Cleckheaton.

“I would like to thank all of the people that joined in the walk, those that got sponsors for their children who joined in and all of my friends, family, members of the local community and local businesses which sponsored Tora.

“The money that was raised will really help the two charities concerned.”

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