WITH a big smile on his face and wearing his bright red school uniform jumper, Oakley Smith was excited about the first day of term.
And what made it extra special for the four-year-old was that he walked through the school gates by himself.
Oakley was born with cerebral palsy, which made it extremely painful and difficult for him to stand or even walk.
But, after years of fundraising to fund an operation in America, and tough physical training, Oakley is now able to take steps on his own.
It was a day his parents Angela Mahon, 35, and Terry Smith, 36, of Scratchface Lane, Bedhampton, didn’t think they would see.
And that’s why the pair were overjoyed that Oakley would be in the same class as his twin brother Mykey, in Bidbury Infants School, Fraser Road, Bedhampton.
Angela, who is Oakley’s full-time carer, said: ‘I was nervous and excited about his first day.
‘We have had to deal with so much to get to this point, but we are so happy the boys are going to the same school.
‘Oakley will have special equipment to help him, and a one-on-one tutor to help him move around.
‘But apart from that he will be able to interact with the other children, to make friends and have his brother there to help him.
‘We really wanted to make sure Oakley went to a mainstream school.’
As reported, people rallied around to raise £50,000 needed for a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy, in St Louis Children’s Hospital, in America.
He had the operation last year, and since August he has been working with physiotherapists and trainers to help him move.
But each private session of physio costs £90 an hour, and so the family is still fundraising in order to make sure Oakley has his sessions.
Terry, who works in electronics, said: ‘It’s a surprise to see how quickly the boys have grown up.
‘I’m so glad the boys will be at school together and that Oakley is able to walk.
‘Mentally he’s fine and will learn like the other children do.
‘This is why we want to keep the physio up. As he grows it sets him back a bit.’
To help go to justgiving.com/angela-mahon