Anger at vandal damage

Benjamin Bazneh, 9, from Stowmarket, has ME. Pictured with sister Chloe, 2 and mum Joanne.
Benjamin Bazneh, 9, from Stowmarket, has ME. Pictured with sister Chloe, 2 and mum Joanne.
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THE mother of a six-year-old boy who suffers from ME has hit out at vandals who smashed in the front door of a charity group which supports children with disabilities and difficulties.

Stepping Stones, Stowmarket Area Opportunity Group, which meets in Chilton Way, Stowmarket, and supports about 40 families, was this week targeted by yobs who smashed their way into the building.

Joanne Bazneh, who is chairman of the group and whose son Benjamin has been diagnosed with ME, said: “It saddens you. Children have missed out on a session and this costs us money for a locksmith and glazier to repair the damage.”

Ben suffers with severe fatigue and can only attend school on a part-time basis. He receives learning support at home and he and his younger sister Chloe, two, attend the opportunity group each week.

Parents have refurbished and extended the group’s sensory room but need to replace the bubble tube, which creates soft moving lights. They will also now have to pay to replace the damaged door.

The group is staging an evening of clairvoyance with Fiona Nichols at Stowupland Village Hall on March 9 to raise badly needed funds.

Joanne, 34, of Sandpiper Road, said: “Ben has never been right. He has always been tired with dark circles under his eyes.

“When he had his MMR jab he had a really high fever. My husband Richard and I have seen every consultant and been down every avenue.

“Ben can’t ride his bike and can only stay on it for about two or three minutes he gets so tired. It is really beginning to get to him and that’s why I feel so passionate about the group.

“It’s shocking how many children have this. Ben is so bright and such a loving gorgeous little boy but his body lets him down. He says Mr Tired won’t go away.”

“I felt so alone when I found out about his diagnosis but when we moved here and I discovered Stepping Stones it made a great difference.This has been the best place we could ever have moved to.”

While receiving some funding from Children in Need, Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council, Joanne says the group has to rely on the goodwill of others to keep open.

Tickets for the evening are £8 and can be obtained from info@stepping-stones-group.org.uk or phone 07784 861014