Golfers help youngsters with chair gifts

Tracey GrayNew powered wheelchairs which will prove to be 'life-changing' for three youngsters have been handed over during a special golfing event at Sheringham hosted by a famous sports commentator.Tracey Gray

New powered wheelchairs which will prove to be 'life-changing' for three youngsters have been handed over during a special golfing event at Sheringham hosted by a sports commentator.

The voice of golf - commentator Peter Alliss - gave the new chairs to the delighted youngsters and their families last Thursday at a sponsored golf day organised by members of Sheringham Golf Club.

The chairs, costing about �4,000 each, were bought for the youngsters thanks to the fundraising efforts of the golf club and via Mr Alliss's charity, the Peter Alliss Powered Wheelchair Crusade.

One of those given a powered wheelchair was 11-year-old Josh Page, from Bowthorpe, who attends The Clare School, which applied on his behalf to receive one of the chairs.

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Josh was born with the condition carpal tarsal osteolysis, also known as vanishing bone syndrome, which can cause crippling arthritis and destruction of bones.

His mum, Sarah, 34, said: 'Josh has very limited mobility, so getting this chair for him is just going to be life-changing. He used to have a manual one, but we had to push him everywhere; this chair will give him a lot more independence. It is something we could never have afforded for him on our own.'

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Josh Southgate, eight, from Eaton, who has cerebral palsy, was also given one of the chairs, which will be used by his school, The Clare School in Norwich, to help teach other disabled youngsters how to drive and control a powered wheelchair.

Gareth Almey, 16, from Taverham, who has Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which causes learning difficulties, also received one of the chairs.

Brian Graver, who took over as the golf club captain in March, estimated that around �14,000 had been raised in advance sponsorship, with both the charity golf day and a meal and raffle held last Wednesday night.

The golf day was won by a team from Bakers and Larners of Holt, who will now be going to play in a national competition being held in Scotland.

Mr Graver, who has adopted the Peter Alliss Powered Wheelchair Crusade as his charity for the year, said: 'I met Peter Alliss 18 months ago when I went to the Royal Birkdale Golf Club and he presented some children with their wheelchairs there. I was taken aback with how much of a difference they can make not only to the child's life, but also their parent or carer.'

He said he hopes during his year as captain to be able to raise enough to buy another wheelchair. The captain of the ladies' team at the golf club, Ann Whittington, is also supporting the charity.

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