Space suits give boys freedom

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Two young brothers are only ever seen playing football in the garden or going on daytime outings when they are dressed in space suits. Kyle Richards, four, and Ryan, two, who are violently allergic to sunlight, have been supplied with the specially designed protective clothing by the United States space agency Nasa, which heard that the boys could suffer painful blistering just by stepping outside their home at Shotton Colliery, Co Durham.

The suits consist of jackets and trousers made two layers light resistant material, plus a face shield. A battery-powered cooling system inside enable them to be worn comfortably in warm weather. The boys' mother, Carmen, 27, said: "I can't thank the people of Nasa enough for what they have done. I never dreamt they would come up with something like this."

The boys were fitted out during a trip to Florida. Assistant technology transfer director Bob Dotts of the Johnson Space Centre at Houston, Texas, said: "This has been one of the most rewarding programmes I've worked on - and I've done a lot of work on space programmes." Nasa is now working on developing the suits and hopes that, with the help of funding, they can help 2,000 other people around the world with the same problem.