A seven-year-old girl has been gifted the 'freedom' to run independently thanks to an outpouring of donations from the Hackney community.

Maija Pettitt, who lives in Hackney, has cerebral palsy, triple X syndrome and global developmental delay, which affect her mobility, particularly her ability to walk and run.

A fundraiser was set up last October to raise funds to buy a Race-Runner for Maija.

A RaceRunner is a three-wheeled bike without pedals which gives disabled people the body support to walk, run and jog independently.

Maija’s mum, Elke Pettitt, said: “Maija requires constant assistance to move and is unable to independently operate her wheelchair or walker.

"However, due to its engineering, the Race-Runner allows her this ability and freedom.”

Maija first got to try out a Race-Runner at an accessible running club in east London.

While her family were keen to get her one, the cost, at more than £1,800, made purchasing the specialist bike difficult.

They reached out to children’s disability charity, Children Today Charitable Trust, for support.

Children Today pledged to cover more than a third of the cost of the equipment and launched an appeal on behalf of the family to try to raise the remaining funds needed.

Donations came flooding in from friends and family, the local community and other charities, and within just two weeks the rest of the funds for the Race-Runner were secured.

Maija's Race-Runner arrived recently and her mum says she tried it out at Victoria Park "at the first opportunity".

“She was thrilled to have a sense of independence and ability to have adventures of her own," Elke added.

Elke thanked people for their donations, adding: "Maija has got such a zest for life, so seeing the delight on her face using the Race-Runner was such a joy."

Emma Prescott, charity director at Children Today, said: "Seeing and hearing Maija giggle away as she runs along for the first time in her Race-Runner is enough to melt your heart.

"We can’t wait to see what adventures await.

“We’d also like to say a big thank you to the Hackney community for helping this remarkable little girl enjoy the feeling of freedom and a whole lot of fun."