Why young Charlie is jumping for joy in Carlton Colville
- Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher
Charlie Wilson is jumping for joy after qualifying for the regional finals of a dance event.
Tomorrow, the 10-year-old from Carlton Colville will head to Hertfordshire to showcase his skills.
But what makes this achievement even more remarkable is that it comes after the brave youngster spent two-and-a-half years in a wheelchair, amid fears that he might never walk again.
In 2007 Charlie was diagnosed with Perthes Disease, which meant he had to remain in a wheelchair and avoid putting any weight on his legs.
However, he overcame his illness and, after learning to walk again, Charlie will take centre stage this weekend in the All England London North Regional Finals in Welwyn Garden City.
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For Charlie's proud parents, Kelly and Michael, his achievement is a source of huge pride.
Reflecting on what has been a 'mixture of emotions' over the years, Mrs Wilson said: 'It started when he was four. He started waking up in the night with pains in his legs and a couple of months later he started to limp.'
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Charlie was taken to the doctors and referred for an x-ray. It confirmed that he had Perthes Disease – in which an inadequate blood supply to the hip bone leads to it softening and breaking down.
Mrs Wilson said: 'We were told some children with it never walk properly and could have hip replacements. He couldn't ride a bike, go on a trampoline or do any sports. Charlie was four-and-a-half at the time – he struggled with it, as he was not allowed to do things he had enjoyed and had to watch other kids play.'
After undergoing treatment in September 2007, Charlie spent seven days at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and was told by his surgeon to take all weight off his feet.
His parents were warned there were no guarantees attached to his recovery.
'We did not know his future,' Mrs Wilson recalled. 'While he was still in the wheelchair, aged about six, he saw the streetdance group Diversity perform on Britain's Got Talent and absolutely loved it. He said that was what he would like to do. I could not say anything, but once he got on his feet he was determined to dance.'
In April 2010 the family were told that Charlie had improved.
Mrs Wilson said: 'I remember getting the letter through the post saying he could walk again. My husband was at work, Charlie was at school and we waited until he came home to tell him the news. When he got home, we said 'we've got a surprise for you' – you can stand up if you want. His face lit up and he said 'can I really?''
Since then, Charlie has never looked back. At the age of seven, Charlie had to learn how to walk again – but first of all he had to have casts on his feet for eight weeks to tighten his Achilles heel.
'For me, him walking was a miracle – let alone now seeing him do so well at dancing,' Mrs Wilson added.
Charlie started at Jordan Ayers dance school in Carlton Colville in September 2011, and by April he had entered his first competition, coming third.
Since then, the Dell Primary School pupil has gone on to win numerous trophies and performs modern, street dance, hip hop, musical theatre and contemporary styles of dance.
He recently won the Under-12 duet trophy with his partner Holly Smith at a dance festival.
'He just loves dancing and would like to be a dance teacher,' Mrs Wilson said. 'We'd like to thank Jordan, Holly and his sister Chelsie who's been so supportive – we're really proud of her.
'Charlie is now literally jumping for joy.'