A HAMPSHIRE youngster’s dream of finding her voice is a step closer thanks to the generosity of friends and Daily Echo readers.

Four-year-old Lexie Cooper- Barnes, who has cerebral palsy, is trying to raise £20,000 for a specialist eye-recognition laptop that would help her to speak.

Within just three weeks of her family launching Lexie’s Voice Fund more than £5,000 has already been raised, with family, friends and strangers all eager to help.

Kick-starting the fundraising drive was Megan Vernon, who last year underwent life-changing surgery to help her to walk normally thanks to the help of Daily Echo readers.

Megan’s Quest was launched in August last year and within three months the £40,000 needed for the specialist op in America was raised.

As soon as 10-year-old Megan, who also suffers from cerebral palsy, found out about Lexie’s plight, the schoolgirl handed over her pocket money and has been busy organising a number of events, including a car boot sale, and has so far raised more than £250.

Lexie’s mum Charlene Cooper, from Bishopstoke, said: “The response from everybody has been absolutely incredible. It has been so humbling for us.

“Lexie’s story came out during the week of the terrible riots but the response to our story has shown us that there are decent people out there who are willing to help.

“Megan has just blown me away with the amount she has done for Lexie’s appeal. She just keeps going and we are so grateful for her incredible dedication.”

Lexie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months old, leaving her severely disabled, unable to walk unaided or talk, but despite her physical problems she is mentally able.

But with Lexie about to start mainstream school this month her mum Charlene and dad John Barnes, fear that without the hi-tech computer she will struggle at school with teachers and classmates unable to understand what she is trying to say.

Megan’s mum Steph said: “We are so proud of Megan who has worked really hard organising her events.

We will never forget how our community raised the money for Megan’s Quest last year, so it is great that we can now help someone else and I can’t think of a better cause.

“Lexie is such a wonderful girl and deserves to be able to communicate with others, something we all just take for granted.”

Megan added: “I hope the family can raise all the money so Lexie can communicate.”

A fashion show for Lexie’s Voice has been organised for October 10, at the Southampton Holiday Inn, with tickets costing £5 each.

For your ticket, to make a donation or to organise your own event call Charlene on 023 8178 0177 or email Charlene.cooper256@sky.com.