AN URGENT appeal has been launched to fund a visual aid for a blind Southampton schoolgirl.

Florence Heffer, a Kings Copse Primary School pupil, risks falling behind at school because specialist equipment that helps her complete school work has to be left in the classroom.

Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children needs to raise £2,616 to provide the nine-year-old with the life-changing electronic braille tablet like the one she uses at school because she has to leave it there at the end of the day, meaning she is unable to complete homework or learn outside of school hours.

The equipment - a braille tablet that translates documents into braille - writes and edits, creates graphs and allows Florence to access the internet.

Florence’s eyes stopped developing during the early stages of pregnancy and she was born with abnormally small eyes known as Microphthamlia, as well as Glaucoma affecting the optic nerve in both eyes and Nystagmus, which causes her eyes to make repetitive, uncontrolled movements.

Dense cataracts were also surgically removed when she was three-months-old.

Florence's mum, Pip Davies, said: “She absolutely makes the most of her limited vision and wants to have as normal a life as possible.

"She goes to a drama class and takes part in Goalball, a sport specifically for blind people, but her lack of vision impacts every part of her life – and not having this visual aid at home makes it hard to keep up with others her age.

“Being able to use this at home now, means Florence would not only keep up, she could excel as a blind person in a technological sighted world.

"It would give her the most options for her future, which is all any parent wants for their child. It would be life changing.”

Florence is just one of 51 children in the South East on the charity's waiting list and in desperate need of specialist disability equipment costing a total of £33,873.

Money raised above the amount needed for Florence’s visual aid will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in need.

Anyone able to help Florence should contact Newlife on 01543 431 444, visit the website at, email, or text NEWLIFE FLORENCE to 70500 to give £10.