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Workmates muck in for charity calendar

PUBLISHED: 12:52 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 03 July 2010

Tooled up: Staff at SSI in Great Yarmouth pose for the charity  calendar.

Tooled up: Staff at SSI in Great Yarmouth pose for the charity calendar.

FOUR-year-old Aimee Dickson is the Calendar Girl as far as staff at Survival Systems International (SSI) in Great Yarmouth are concerned.

They are appearing on a calendar to raise money and alert more people to a rare hereditary illness which means Aimee must be on a rigid special diet for life - or risk brain damage.

FOUR-year-old Aimee Dickson is the Calendar Girl as far as staff at Survival Systems International (SSI) in Great Yarmouth are concerned.

They are appearing on a calendar to raise money and alert more people to a rare hereditary illness which means Aimee must be on a rigid special diet for life - or risk brain damage.

Aimee's dad Andy, an offshore field service technician with the company, wants more people made aware of the PKU (Phenylketonuria) illness and the work of charity NSPKU which helped them throughout his daughter's early years.

Andy, from Belton, approached several staff to ask if they would pose for the calendar before asking bosses if the business - which manufactures capsules, inspects and maintains survival craft and associated launch equipment for rigs and ships across the world - could be used as a backdrop.

“I was thrilled that George Teece and Bob Gray, joint general managers, not only agreed but offered to fund the calendar's production and joined in for one of the pictures.

“This is a responsible and serious business but they let us dress up for the calendar as it was part of the fun.

“Aimee was diagnosed with PKU at birth and, had she not been checked, would have suffered brain damage by now. That's why it's so vital to tell other parents and to support NSPKU's work which relies entirely on donations.

“I'll find more ways to raise money and support them. My wife Jo- Ann is expecting our second baby in March and we'll be having the simple check for PKU done immediately.”

The illness is inherited but only around one person in 100,000 is a carrier. Even when two carriers come together it is not certain that their baby will be affected but it is important to find out quickly.

Claire Gutteridge, Survival Systems' business development coordinator, said the company was delighted to support Andy's initiative and quickly arranged for the calendar to be produced in time for Christmas by Great Yarmouth-based TMS Media.

“We're having 100 calendars printed initially, mainly for staff, friends and customers but anyone who wants a copy or to support the cause can contact me. Each calendar costs £5 so our aim is to raise £500.”

Phenylketonuria is a build-up in the body of phenylalanine - found in the protein of food - and the treatment is a low protein diet. It means high protein foods such as meat, cheese, poultry, eggs and milk are not permitted. Instead the diet is supplemented with artificial protein which allows normal growth and development of the child.


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