AN appeal to get little Corin Potts walking for the first time has reached its target, the Gazette is proud to announce.

Corin’s First Steps surpassed the £35,000 needed for three-year-old Corin, who has cerebral palsy, to undergo life-changing surgery last week, just months after the campaign was set up by his parents James and Faye, of Woodchester in Yate.

Launched in May, the appeal captured the imagination of people in Yate and Chipping Sodbury and offers to hold fundraising events started flooding in.

But when Shire Way Community Centre was broken into on August 20 and thieves made off with £1,400 earmarked for Corin’s fund, the appeal picked up national attention and anonymous donors handed over thousands of pounds, quickly raising the amount of money the family desperately needs.

James, 31, said he could not believe they had reached the target in such a short space of time.

"I was thinking at best we would raise £20,000 by Christmas," he told the Gazette. "But since the break-in things have just snowballed and now with some events still to be held we probably have about £40,000."

He said the aim had always been to raise £25,000 for the selective dorsal rhyzitomy operation, which involves cutting the nerves at the base of Corin’s spine to help him to walk, and £10,000 for intensive rehabiliation and aftercare. But with the extra cash, the family will now be able to afford more therapy sessions and state-of-the-art equipment to improve his chances of walking.

"We were looking at three sessions a week and buying second hand stuff but now we can get the very best equipment," said James.

"We are not going to spend money for the sake of it but we want to give Corin the very best chance of walking possible."

The family is not planning any further events but wants to continue with those already organised.

"People have put a lot of hard work into some events still due to take place so we don’t want that to be wasted," added James, who works for Royal Mail. "But if there is any money left over we will certainly give it to a worthy cause."

He added: "It hasn’t really sunk in yet. Corin is as good as gold and because he has never walked he doesn’t really know what he is missing. But when he takes his first steps we want everybody to know it will be because of them.

"As much as me and the family have put the effort in, if it wasn’t for the community coming to our events and making donations, we would not have made anything. The support has been amazing."

Corin has been assessed by doctors in Bristol and the family is now waiting to hear if he can have the operation in this country. If not, he will have to travel to America which could cost more money.