Halloween fundraiser for brave Pitstone girl who was robbed of her ability to speak by Rett Syndrome

A magnificent Halloween display which gets bigger and better each year is inviting trick-or-treaters to Pitstone in honour of a teenager with a rare condition.

Lin and Pete Howarth’s display is becoming well known in LBO land, as the couple, who are mad for October 31, put impressive decorations outside their property to help young neighbour, Frankie Ross, 14.

Left: Frankie. Right: Linda's display.

Left: Frankie. Right: Linda's display.

Brave Frankie has a condition called Rett Syndrome, which affects her physical and mental development, including her speech, balance and walking.

Lin, 49, said: “Devastatingly, this year Frankie’s condition has progressed and she is no longer able to communicate verbally, so it is even more important to raise money for a cure.

“Preparation began in May and everything we’ve used has been recyclable. For example, Jack Skellington is made from long silver hoover pipes.

“We’ve got our scary marquee with a killer clown and zombie theme, as well as a main child-friendly display with a fortune teller, plasma ball and spider lady, and a seven foot tree of skulls!”

Lin and Pete's display with Jack Skellington (left).

Lin and Pete's display with Jack Skellington (left).

Money raised from the Hallowe’en display will go to two charities, Rett UK, which supports families, and Reverse Rett, which is researching to find a cure.

Mum Rita Ross, 56, trustee and co-founder of Reverse Rett, said: “Frankie started to lose all her words from about the age of four - she was diagnosed at three-years-old - and we didn’t know how badly affected she would be, as there is a spectrum with Rett Syndrome.

“Slowly, she lost all her words and then this year she lost all of her vocalisation, too.

“This has made her very upset and frustrated and it is heartbreaking for us that she can’t make any sounds now, apart from her laugh which is contagious and we so hope she can hold on to that!”

Frankie Ross. Rita said: "Frankie absolutely adores going to the display - she loves all the amazing displays and the haunted tent. She loves hearing all the children laughing and screaming and mainly she loves all the fuss made of her, as everyone is so kind and talks to her."

Frankie Ross. Rita said: "Frankie absolutely adores going to the display - she loves all the amazing displays and the haunted tent. She loves hearing all the children laughing and screaming and mainly she loves all the fuss made of her, as everyone is so kind and talks to her."

Rita added: “It is one of the many things that Rett Syndrome does; you never know what’s round the next corner. It robs the girls of everything - most girls are tube fed (as they lose the ability to swallow), lose purposeful use of their hands, and lose the ability to walk and sit up. They can also develop epilepsy and scoliosis, and become more and more locked in.

“A huge thanks to Lin and her family and to the wonderful community that has supported us since Frankie’s diagnosis in 2008.”

Lin and Pete would like to thank everyone who has donated props or sweets, as well as Dave from Poundland, Mason’s coaches, Zoomania and the community.

Details: Durham Road, Pitstone, October 31, 4pm-9.15pm. Parking: in the industrial estate or Westfield Road.