14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Lottery Winning Couple Fund Surgery To Help Disabled Girl Walk


A couple who won £161 million on EuroMillions have given part of their fortune to give a disabled girl the chance to walk for the first time.

Britain's biggest lottery winners, Chris and Colin Weir, responded to a plea from the parents of four-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Skye Swinton and paid £28,000 towards a life-changing operation.

Skye, from Cheltenham, was refused spinal surgery on the NHS, so her mother Ruth wrote to the Weirs in desperation.

Thanks to the Weirs, Skye had the surgery in October – and she took her first steps without walking sticks just in time for Christmas.

Ruth, 39, said: "Seeing her walking with a smile on her face is the most amazing Christmas present. Her progress has been amazing.

"In the past she could not walk properly on her own because she could only walk on the tips of her toes.

"Now, she can get her heels on the ground and there is no stopping her.

"She is absolutely loving it and wants to show off how well she can walk."

Skye, who was born 13 weeks early weighing just 1lb 15oz, has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

Her operation, a selective dorsal rhizotomy carried out at Bristol's Frenchay Hospital, is new to the UK, but has been performed in the States for years.

It involves partially cutting nerves where they join the spinal cord, in order to loosen the muscles. Without it she would have remained confined to a wheelchair, and would have needed major corrective surgery in a few years.

AFP/Getty Images
Colin Weir (L) and his wife Chris pose for pictures with champagne during a photocall in Falkirk, Scotland, on July 15, 2011, after winning a record GBP161m (184m euros/259m USD) in the EuroMillions Lottery, on July 15, 2011. The Euro Millions lottery, launched in 2004, is now played by nine countries across western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. AFP PHOTO/ WATTIE CHEUNG (Photo credit should read Wattie Cheung/AFP/Getty Images)

Chris and Colin, from North Ayrshire, Scotland, became Britain's biggest single jackpot winners in 2011. They paid £28,000 towards the surgery after the Swinton family raised £12,000.

Ruth, a full-time carer for Skye, said: "This will make a huge difference to Skye's life. In time, she will be able to take part in all the activities her peers are."

In a statement, Chris and Colin said they hoped the donation would ease the family's worries.

They said: "Skye faces many challenges in the next year. Without the additional worry and pressure of fundraising, their time can be spent on Skye."