New wheelchair to give Brighton teen ‘some much-needed freedom’

Nick Boyard (Photograph: Simon Callaghan) SUS-180126-095718001
Nick Boyard (Photograph: Simon Callaghan) SUS-180126-095718001

A 14-year-old boy who suffers with cerebral palsy has been presented with his very own powered wheelchair thanks to fundraising by casino workers.

Nick Boyard, who lives in Whitehawk, said the condition significantly impairs his movement and co-ordination, and requires him to travel by wheelchair.

Until now, Nick has relied on assistance from his parents Lisa and Stephen, as well as from teaching assistants at Longhill High School.

But he said: “I struggle to make friends because I’m not able to go anywhere on my own. I always have to have someone with me. And every day someone comes up to me and moves me out of their way.”

Last year, Nick’s parents discovered CHIPS – a charity founded on behalf of the casino and gaming industry – which raises money to purchase specialised wheelchairs for young disabled people.

After submitting an application on Nick’s behalf, his parents were delighted when they found out Nick had been chosen, and that he would be awarded his very own state-of-the-art motorised chair worth £7,000.

Stephen said: “The whole family are all absolutely over the moon. Nick has always been very independent, and the new powered wheelchair will help provide him with some much-needed freedom. It means he won’t have to depend on an adult pushing him everywhere he goes.”

The wheelchair was purchased with funds raised by ten employees at Genting UK, which has a casino in Preston Street.

The casino staff ran the Rock and Roll Madrid Marathon and Half Marathon in April, raising £20,000 which was donated to CHIPS.

Linda Lindsay, CHIPS charity founder said: “We are delighted to present Nick with a gift that we have no doubt will change his life for the better.

“The chair will allow Nick to move around without relying on others, providing him with the independence that he deserves.”

Tony Pearce, executive vice president of international marketing at Genting UK, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to present Nick with his new wheelchair and we hope that it will make life slightly easier for him and his family.”