Clymping woman gets best birthday gift: a 3D-printed arm

A Clymping woman has thanked a charity that gave her a 3D-printed arm for her birthday.

As a child, Annastasia Feltham would wear gloves and clothing to hide her underdeveloped left hand.

Annastasia Feltham from Clymping is delighted with her 3D printed arm. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Annastasia Feltham from Clymping is delighted with her 3D printed arm. Picture: Kate Shemilt

But the Clymping 70-year-old is proudly displaying an eye-catching 3D-printed arm which she was given for free by the charity Team UnLimbited just in time for her birthday.

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Annastasia, from Horsemere Green Lane, said: “I just feel like I have been transformed; I want people to see me using it.

“It has altered my confidence. It makes me feel special now – not all the kids have one of these.”

While Annastasia’s mother Susan Weir was pregnant with her in 1948, an earthquake struck Accra – the capital of Ghana, where her parents lived at the time.

The force made her trip over some steps, twisting Annastasia’s umbilical cord around her neck and hand and cutting off blood supply to the latter.

When she was born, nothing seemed to be wrong – but as she grew up, the fingers on her left hand did not develop.

Her parents took her to famous wartime surgeon Archibald McIndoe, who removed her tiny fingers when she was around four years old.

Her disability did not stop her getting married, having a daughter and running the successful Off-Shore Guest House in St Augustine Road, Littlehampton, for 40 years.

She even managed to ride horses with Arundel Riding for The Disabled.

But when she read about 3D printers creating appendages for children with deformed limbs, Annastasia wanted to get involved.

Her research put her in touch with Team UnLimbited, a charity that made the devices for free, in 2017.

And on October 8 last year, the parcel she had been longing for arrived just in time for her birthday.

The device works via a pulley system, which makes the fingers open and close in response to arm movements.

Annastasia asked for a camoflauge pattern for the appendage, as she was visiting schools for the Enable Me charity to do talks on her disability at the time she ordered it.

She said: “I would just like to say a massive thank you to Team UnLimbited; I feel like the best way I can repay them is by sharing my story.”

Next on her list is a bionic arm – but she admitted this might be a bit out of her price range.