A CHEPSTOW boy is today recovering from an operation that is hoped will help him walk on his own for the first time.

Five-year-old Brecon Vaughan and his parents Rob Vaughan and Ann Drewery of Mathern arrived in America on Friday ahead of pioneering surgery at the St Louis Children’s Hospital , Missouri, yesterday.

The couple, both 44, of Birdwood Gardens said the operation would not have been possible without the support of Free Press readers, friends and family, who got behind our appeal to raise £60,000 in a matter of weeks towards the treatment for Brecon, who suffers with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.

The debilitating nerve-muscle condition means the Shirenewton primary pupil has stiffness in his legs and poor balance and co-ordination.

Brecon cannot walk without his walker and relies on a wheelchair when going out for the day. He needs regular physiotherapy and uses splints at home but his parents have always dreamed of one-day seeing him walking.

Following the launch of our appeal in June, the campaign was given a huge boost by Dan Black of Llanvair Discoed, who donated £22,000 which had been raised for him after he was left wheelchair bound in a road accident in 2009.

Mr Black,25, was so touched by Brecon’s story, he decided the youngster deserved the money more than he did.

Rob said the family has been totally overwhelmed by the wonderful selfless generosity of Mr Black, who was honoured at last week’s Pride of Britain awards, and by the Free Press readers and everyone across the world who helped.

Both national newspapers and radio stations picked up our story and the family’s plight touched the hearts of people world-wide.

Speaking from America yesterday, Mr Vaughan said: “Brecon is due to have his surgery today and will remain in hospital until Sunday. "

He will undergo a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy- a procedure developed and performed at the Missouri hospital which involves removing bone from one vertebrae and making an incision in the spine to divide nerve roots that contribute to the spasticity, giving them more balance and enabling them to walk.

More than 1,900 children have successfully been treated at the hospital, enabling them to live active lives

The cost of the operation and intense physiotherapy in the US for a month and specialist equipment will cost £60,000.

Mr Vaughan said: “He will have five sessions on physiotherapy this week and once discharged we have to return daily for three weeks on physio. Brecon will also have to have tendon-lengthening surgery on October 24 before we fly home to the UK on November 9.”

He added: “This has all been made possible by all of the kind family, friends and well-wishers. Of course we can't forget the immense donation from Dan Black, without this we would have never arrived in St Louis as quickly as we have.”