Ellesmere pupil on a mission to raise £18,000 for new wheelchair


Georgia Macey

A 14-year-old pupil at Lakelands Academy in Ellesmere is aiming to raise £18,000 for a charity that is providing him with a state-of-the-art wheelchair.

Thomas Lake has Cerebral Palsy, a condition that restricts the movement of his muscles, which has left him unable to stand or walk.

He has just enough strength in his right hand to control a powered wheelchair, which he has used since he was four years old.

As Thomas continued to develop, he outgrew his wheelchair which started to affect his studies. He had to use his more basic NHS model, which didn’t enable him to get up to science lab desks.

Thomas said the chair reduced his self-esteem as it was less powerful and he kept getting stuck on surfaces he could previously access.

He had to be helped by footballers when he became stuck on a pitch in Sundorne, and a group of surfers had to rescue him on Porthmadog beach.

Mum Helen, aged 41, feared he would lose his independence as the NHS chair did not allow Thomas to access any grassed area, which meant he was no longer able to walk his puppy.

Helen contacted Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.

Helen said: “They’ve been amazing. The high-to-low wheelchair they said best suited Thomas’s needs came in at a £18,685. Unfortunately, it isn’t funded through the NHS so I was overwhelmed when Caudwell Children said they would fund 80 per cent of the cost.

“Not only that, they also signposted me to other charities and trusts to cover the balance of the wheelchair. When I told Thomas, he simply couldn’t believe it.”

Thomas has ambitions to become a YouTube vlogger when he is older and enjoys science and gaming.

Thomas said: “The wheelchair means I’ll be able to access more in school again. It will also give me much more independence as it will be able to lift me to about 5ft high, so I’ll finally be able to mix with my friends.

“I’ll also be able to travel outside more and play with my dog Hollie.

“It’s going to make a massive difference to my life and that’s why I want to try to raise the money. I want another young person in Shropshire to have a wheelchair like this so they can do the things I’ll be able to do.”

Dad Neville, aged 44, said the wheelchair would benefit the whole family. “Thomas is fast growing into a young man – he’s already taller than his mum and can be difficult to move.

“The new wheelchair, however, has been designed to tilt so we will be able to put him in a lying position, which will help us to manoeuvre and stretch him, as looking after his posture is vital as he is having huge growth spurts.

“This would be incredibly difficult to do in his old wheelchair.”



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