Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 20:00 UK

Meningitis boy learning to walk


Archie Barton had his legs amputated after contracting meningitis

A three-year-old boy who lost his legs after contracting meningitis has taken his first steps on prosthetic limbs.

Archie Barton from Plymouth suffered severe meningococcal septicaemia when he was 18 months old.

He has also lost a number of fingers, part of an ear, the tip of his nose and now has severe visual impairment.

Nicky Barton said after skin grafts, operations and months in hospital, her son was making "amazing" progress and could nearly walk on his hi-tech legs.

"He can stand and balance on his own and he's kicking out with minimal support to take steps," 42-year-old Mrs Barton said.

"He's nearly there on his own - he can walk when I give him a little support on his hips.

The family bought the £12,500 lightweight legs from a private orthopaedic clinic in Dorset after deciding NHS ones were heavy and uncomfortable.

Local fundraisers have collected more than £120,000 for Archie's continuing care since he was taken ill in June 2007.

Last year Archie's mother, grandfather, aunt, brother and sister took part in the Plymouth half marathon to help raise money for his limbs.

The toddler is also receiving hydrotherapy and daily physiotherapy at Woodlands School in Plymouth where he attends nursery.

The family launched a website - Archie's Story - to help raise money and to alert people to dangers of meningitis.

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