Shrewsbury Severn Rotary Club support teens appeal
A Shrewsbury Rotary Club has donated £500 to a disabled teenager from Bicton Heath, who needs a new powered wheelchair in order to complete his education.
18-year-old Oliver Burrows has bilateral cerebral palsy, a condition that affects his mobility and has left him a permanent wheelchair user.
Now in his second year studying horticultural land maintenance, at Derwen College’s Oswestry campus, Oliver has to access a woodlands area to study, but unfortunately his current wheelchair can’t travel over the rough ground and gravel in the wooded expanse.
With help from Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, Oliver recently launched an appeal to help him raise the £15,000 he needs for a powered wheelchair that would best suit his needs.
John Yomans, Chair of Shrewsbury Severn Rotary Club, read Oliver’s story when it was recently featured in regional media and he immediately decided to propose to his Committee that they support the appeal.
“We raise £15-£20,000 a year to support local causes,” explained John. “We do an awful lot with children and young people and I thought this young man needed our support.”
The Rotary Club raise funds in a variety of ways including the ‘Tree of Light’ in St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury, where members of the public can sponsor a light in memory of a particular cause or a loved one. They also raise funds through the well-known Santa Sleigh which makes appearances at many venues in Shrewsbury throughout the Yuletide period.
“We also fundraise for The Shrewsbury Ark, who provide support to homeless people in the town,” said John. “Not only that we help elderly members of the community to access the local church hall over Christmas, so by supporting Oliver we’re really caring for the whole community.
”We’re delighted to be able to help a local lad and we are excited at the prospect of him being able to do so much more with his life.”
Oliver’s mum, Deborah, says the new powered wheelchair will make a huge difference to her son. As she explained: “The four large balloon tyres will make the wheelchair much sturdier and it will be perfectly safe on grass, rock, sand and shale surfaces.
“It will really assist him with his land based studies at college and it will ensure that he can complete his course, giving him the best chance of employment in the future, so we can’t thank the Rotary Club enough for all their support.”
Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children is delighted that the Rotary Club has donated to the appeal. As he exclaimed: “This is not an insubstantial sum of money and I believe it is one of their largest single donations.
“Parents tell me it’s heart-breaking when they can’t afford to buy a chair that would be so life changing for their children, so this means an awful lot to Deborah and Oliver.
“This piece of equipment will improve Oliver’s life immeasurably. Unbelievably, there are 70,000 children and young people in the UK who would benefit from the correct mobility equipment.
“I’m urging the public and business community to get behind this appeal. With their support we can ensure that Oliver has the specialist equipment that he so desperately needs and deserves, and which will allow him to have the career in horticulture that he dreams of.”
You can support Oliver through his Just Giving page here.