Family’s joy after East Coast Truckers fund new wheelchair
The family of a disabled Norfolk boy spoke of their joy after receiving a new specialist wheelchair, thanks to the fundraising efforts of local truckers.
Eight-year-old Shane Oliver was born with a rare chromosome disorder, which means that he can not walk, talk or eat and requires around the clock care.
But the boy, who had outgrown his previous wheelchair, is able to get out and about again after a donation from the East Coast Truckers enabled his family to buy a new one.
His parents, Alan and Marie Oliver, of Rockland All Saints, near Attleborough, said they could not believe it when the charity gave them more than �1,700 towards the �2,500 chair.
The donation comes as officials spoke of their hope of securing the future of the East Coast Truckers' annual August bank holiday convoy from Norwich to Pleasurewood Hills theme park in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth seafront after police decided to reduce their level of support after this year's event.
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The Oliver family had been doing their own fundraising to pay for a new chair for Shane when Mike Read from the charity approached his grandmother Eileen during a garage sale at Old Buckenham.
Mr Oliver, 38, who is a HGV driver, said they were 'overwhelmed' when East Coast Truckers offered financial help.
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'In the last six months, we have had to find �5,000 for his equipment, and the East Coast Truckers have just stepped in and that is one bit of equipment we do not have to worry about. It shocked us that someone was going to help us and we had raised �250 so far and we would still be fundraising now if they had not helped,' he said.
Shane, who has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a condition that only affects around 160 children across the world, needs 24/7 care and regular visits to hospital. He attends Chapel Road School in Attleborough, a school for children with severe and profound learning needs.
Mrs Oliver, 39, said the new chair had made a big difference.
'It is easier for us, the school and carers and they can take him out and about. He loves going out for walks.
'He can not walk at all and his chair is his way of getting around. Hopefully, it will last another five years, but it depends on how much he grows,' she said.
Shane's old wheelchair has been restored and refurbished by the East Coast Truckers, which is set to benefit the family of a disabled child in Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft.
Mike Read, from the charity, said they were delighted to help Shane. He added that this year's convoy would take place as normal on Sunday, August 28 and officials were in discussions with a company to take the route planning and administration responsibilities off Norfolk Police's hands for future years.
'We have had 1,300 people sign on our website to show their support and with the weight of public opinion we are quietly confident that we can rescue the convoy for many years to come,' he said.
The convoy, which takes disabled and disadvantaged youngsters and their families on a day out in up to 100 lorries, has been running for 25 years and attracts more than 70,000 spectators a year.