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£15,500 needed for off-road wheelchair to allow paralysed man to do the things he loves

PUBLISHED: 06:54 28 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:49 28 August 2020

Jonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan Walsh

Jonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan Walsh

Archant

A Norfolk born musician who was left paralysed after a fall running for the bus is trying to raise £15,500 for an off-road wheelchair to allow him to enjoy his favourite nature spots again.

Jonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan WalshJonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan Walsh

Jonathan Walsh broke his neck when he tripped in May 2016 while at a train station in Southend, hitting his head on the side of a bus, causing him to feel nothing from the shoulders down.

The classically trained clarinetist, who was born in Caister-on-Sea, said: “As I was falling, I was thinking ‘do not put your arms out, you might break them.’ In doing that I did the worse thing.

“Nothing was moving, I couldn’t feel it and I knew it was something quite serious.”

He was taken to the Royal London Hospital and underwent a six hour operation and learnt he had suffered a severe spinal injury. It meant he may regain some movement in all four limbs as his spinal cord had not been completely severed.

Jonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan WalshJonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan Walsh

After spending six months in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore for further spinal care, Mr Walsh was discharged in December 2016.

On his first visit back to Norfolk after being in hospital, he visited Great Yarmouth with his mum and carer where he realised he could not go on the beach.
Mr Walsh said: “That hit me like a sledgehammer.”

Now 57, the former Great Yarmouth Grammar School pupil, is crowdfunding to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair, after being able to experience a test ride in the “revolutionary” chair.

He has raised nearly £5,000 so far to the chair which uses the same technology as a Segway scooter and would allow Mr Walsh to use his entire body to steer and possibly return to his favourite places in Norfolk and the Austrian Alps.

Jonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan WalshJonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan Walsh

Mr Walsh said: “The chair even has off-road capabilities which means I would be able to go for walks with my mum and her two dogs on the beach, one things I miss the most in my ‘former’ life.

“It is going to open up a whole new world.”

As a child, Mr Walsh lived with his family on High Street, Caister, where his parents ran the corner shop Caister Fare.

He moved to London to study at Trinity College of Music and currently lives in Tottenham, returning to Norfolk to see friends and family.

Jonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan WalshJonathan Walsh, who grew up in Caister-on-Sea, is trying to raise £15,500 to buy an Omeo wheelchair which has off-road capabilities. Picture: Jonathan Walsh

Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/jonathan039s-life-changing-two-wheel-quest to donate.


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