This is where your fee for the Friars Square grotto goes

Stanley Smith
Stanley Smith

This is the sweet little boy who has inspired Friars Square Shopping Centre’s Christmas grotto fundraising campaign.

Stanley Smith, aged four, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when he was less than a year old.

Stanley with his mum Karen and dad Paul

Stanley with his mum Karen and dad Paul

The condition causes the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult

for blood to flow through the vessels, causing high pressures to build up which can damage the heart.

Friars Square bosses announced this week that all money raised fromits Christmas grotto will be donated to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association – and if people get behind Stanley’s cause it could smash last year’s total of £6,000 for Scannappeal.

The ever-popular grotto will be officially opened on Sunday following Santa’s parade through the town centre.

Stanley Smith in hospital

Stanley Smith in hospital

Stanley’s dad Paul said: “In February Stanley was given the most serious diagnosis, in terms of the drugs that he needs, he was fitted with a Hickman line which administers the drugs he needs 24/7.

“Stanley is one of only 100 or so children in the country to use the Hickman line so it is quite rare.

“The drugs have to be changed every 24 hours, and we had to go to Great Ormond Street and stay for three weeks to get the training.In many ways Stanley is just a normal little boy, but at the moment there is no cure and the drugs are to sustain his life.

“We are hoping that with the right research, further down the line there might be something.”

Stanley’s story was brought to the attention of Friars Square bosses by facilities manager George Lait, who is a friend of the family.

Paul, who lives with wife Karen and Stanley in High Wycombe, added: “It is so nice to think that people are doing something for Stanley. As a family, we have never been in a situation like this before and we are really touched.

“November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month, so we hope that this will go a little way towards telling more people about what to look out for. Sadly some children can be diagnosed too late, and are unable to get the help they need in time.”

This year entry to the grotto will cost £3 for one child and £5 for two or more. Money raised will go to the charity.

The grotto will be open every Wednesday to Sunday from November 29 to December 13, and then every day from December 14 to Christmas Eve.

Andy Margieson, centre manager at Friars Square, said: “We are delighted to be raising money for such a worthwhile cause to help Stanley Smith, a wonderfully brave little boy.”

“We hope that the money raised from the grotto will go towards finding a cure for this condition.”