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.

Ham & High: Maija with her older brother, Till, mum Elke, and dad RawdenMaija with her older brother, Till, mum Elke, and dad Rawden (Image: Elke Pettitt)

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.

Ham & High: Maija testing out her blue Race-Runner - her favourite colour - with brother TillMaija testing out her blue Race-Runner - her favourite colour - with brother Till (Image: Elke Pettitt)

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.

Ham & High: Maija and her family thanked everyone who donatedMaija and her family thanked everyone who donated (Image: Elke Pettitt)

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."