SCHOOL friends of a girl born without hip sockets joined her for a sponsored walk to pay for her next operation.
Cumnor Primary School pupils walked from Cumnor to Botley with 10-year-old Gulshat Kadyrova, helping to raise more than £2,000.
And a big crowd was there to meet them at the Westway Shopping Centre, including surprise guest local MP Nicola Blackwood, who presented her with a medal and certificate.
The Cumnor youngster, known to friends as Lily, crossed the finish line after two hours: “I have loved today, being able to walk with all my friends and raise some money.
“Plus it was big surprise meeting the MP – I couldn’t believe it when they told me.”
Friend Rosie Webb, 10, said: “It was fun. We stopped three or four times on the walk and all the cars were honking their horns as we walked into the shopping centre.”
Fellow pupil Ellie Young, 11, said: “It was a really good walk, and it was nice to be able to do something for Lily.”
Miss Blackwood, the Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “Gulshat is doing an amazing job and is an inspiration to people.
“She is using every opportunity she has been given and showing you can make a difference, no matter what your circumstances.
“You should be very proud of yourself, Gulshat, and we are of you.”
Event organiser and friend Gwen Macmillan said: “It has been a lovely day, I think half the school would have walked with her if they could.
“The pictures, certificate and things give Gulshat something to put in her memory box and to look back on.”
Gulshat’s mother, Bahar, said: “It was a good walk, and she was so happy to be doing it with her friends.
“I did cry a little while we were walking – it’s so lovely to see how much she has changed since we came here.”
Gulshat and mother Bahar came to Oxford in January 2006 from Turkmenistan, Central Asia, for a specialist hip operation at the Nuffield Orthopeadic Centre in Headington.
Her mother sold all her household belongings and Oxford Mail readers contributed a further £15,000.
Doctors then found she had scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, requiring a further £35,000 operation when Gulshat is 13.
To donate, go to gulshatfund.org.
uk, or send a cheque payable to The Gulshat Fund to LSCC Church Office, c/o Hedgerows, 2 Denman’s Lane, Cumnor, OX2 9PF.