A NEW Thornton-based wheelchair club for children has become a wheelie big success!
Just six months ago, The Cheetahs was nothing more than a dream for Christopher Anderson, who was frustrated by the lack of facilities for young wheelchair users in the area.
But the eight-year-old, from Thornton, is now a different boy after the local community raised an incredible £5,000 for 13 wheelchairs for him to use with his friends.
Christopher’s mum, Christine Anderson, who is the driving force behind the club which meets at Thornton YMCA every Friday between 4pm and 5pm, said: “Christopher is a very different boy, he’s calm, happy and confident.
“I’d like to say a massive thank-you to everyone who has helped, I’ve been totally overwhelmed by the support from the local community.
“It has made a really big difference.”
The Cheetahs allows disabled children like Christopher, who was born with spina bifida, and able-bodied children, like his twin sister Jessica, to play wheelchair sports from hockey to basketball together. Mrs Anderson, of Mayfield Avenue, added: “Everyone is in the same boat.
“The physical benefit is great and while the children play, the parents share experiences with each other.”
Cash for the wheelchairs was donated by Mrs Anderson’s friends Bob Jenkinson and Elizabeth Coop from Thornton, G-Line Coaches, BNFL Charity, Michael’s Indian Restaurant, Carol Parkinson at National Savings and Investments, Northfold Primary School in Thornton, Blackpool and Palatine Rotary, as well as anonymous donors. Even Blackpool FC players had a whip-round in the changing rooms to help The Cheetahs.
The group has also been supported by Cleveleys Park ward Coun Andrea Kay, and received grants from County Coun Carolyn Evans, Lancashire’s disability champion, and County Coun Mark Perks, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for young people.
The club has also recently secured a £4,500 grant from Wyre Children’s Trust to build storage units for the wheelchairs.
County Coun Kay, who brought in specialist sports coaches to help and also approached local schools to boost membership, said: “It has been wonderful to see it all finally come together.
“I have seen Christopher and the whole family really blossom since the club has got up and running.
“The whole thing has been so worthwhile.”