Community backs efforts to get wheelchair for Charlie

A VILLAGE has united to help with a £15,000 fundraising effort to buy an off-road wheelchair to give an eight-year-old boy the freedom he craves.

And in a matter of weeks more than £8,000 has been raised for the Terrain Hopper which will give Carrbrook youngster Charlie Maley more independence.Charlie, who has cerebral palsy, is fully dependent on a wheelchair and often misses out on the community walks organised for villagers by dad Dan.

Dan said: “As a family, we have always been into walking and the outdoors. Living where we do, we are blessed with being at the foothills of the Pennines and have beautiful walks in abundance from our front door.

“We organise walks for the residents of Carrbrook to explore the countryside, but unfortunately Charlie is unable to come with us.

“For the past eight years we have continued to do what we can. However, now at eight years old, we have become stuck. We are struggling more and more to include Charlie in the walks.”

The fundraising, started by Dan and wife Jo, aims to raise £15,000 to purchase an off-road wheelchair, which would allow Charlie to join in and engage in activities with the family and local community, and give him more independence.

After a member of the community posted the JustGiving page on to a Facebook group, donations began to pour in, including £1,000 from an anonymous donor, £500 from Roy Taylor at Buckton Vale Quarry, £350 from The Lighthouse church and money from other businesses in the area, taking the total to more than £8,000.

Matt Greenly, from Carrbrook-based Blue Duck Campers, has been helping with fundraising.
His wife Evie organised a socially distanced cake sale on VE Day, which raised £450.

Matt explained the cake sale raised awareness of the appeal and many donations followed.

“We probably raised a couple of thousand pounds on the back of that one day,” he said.

Matt added he has messaged business contacts for donations as well as raising £120 by holding a virtual pub quiz on Facebook at The Greenly Arms.

He added: “It is a huge sum of money for the family to find and they deserve help.

“And as we have a high profile as a business, we decided to put that to good use.“Charlie is always smiling, and the wheelchair will make life so much better for him that it has turned into a need.”

The family has other fundraising efforts planned for later in the year including a three peaks challenge.

Dan described it is “humbling” how villagers have come together to fundraise for Charlie, a pupil at Millbrook Primary.

He added: “The way the community has come together has been amazing. I have always known it is a fantastic community from doing the walks. They have been phenomenal.

“It is a big ask to raise so much money and I didn’t think it was achievable, especially with what’s going on.

“But after raising so much money so quickly, we now look at it as achievable.”

Dan added over the last eight years they have done everything they can to include Charlie in the walks with various different carriers, wheelchairs and even a huge buggy from Canada.

He continued: “We are struggling more and more to include Charlie in the monthly community walks I organised where we go over the moors. I want him to have new have new experiences and he currently can’t.

“In the most recent, I was talking to George about coming on the walk when Charlie piped up ‘I would love to come dad, but I can’t do it can I?’.

“It broke me. It’s such a simple thing that we all take for granted and he is missing out, and as a dad that hurts.

“But there is an answer. Having trawled the internet for hours, watched hundreds of YouTube videos and spoke to numerous people I came across a fantastic off-road wheelchair. A wheelchair that would allow Charlie to get out and engage in activities with us.

“A wheelchair that would give Charlie his freedom and independence. So here it is, the stumbling block, the cost. The cost of this freedom and independence is £15,000.”

• You can follow the family’s journey on their blog here: https://walkorwheel.co.uk/ and donate to the fundraising efforts at https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/walkorwheel

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