Worthing children get on their bikes for Ollie

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A GROUP of children have organised their own sponsored bike ride to raise money for a new wheelchair for a boy who cannot walk.

Ollie Pink was born with congenital muscular dystrophy, which causes muscle weakness and possible joint deformities.

He has never been able to walk or stand and has used an electric wheelchair since he was four, which he has now outgrown.

His mum Emma, of Offington Drive, said: “Ollie’s condition means he is very weak and can’t walk, so he uses a wheelchair to get around.

“When it was time to start talking about getting a new one, Ollie’s sister and cousins said they wanted to help to try raising some of the money.”

Ollie, 10, needs a new Etac Balder wheelchair, which will cost £18,000. It will be capable of taking him to a standing position – something he cannot currently do – so he is at the same height as his friends, and can be used on all sorts of terrain.

“It will make a massive difference to Ollie’s life, but it costs an awful lot of money,” added Emma, 41.

Ollie’s sister Annabel, 13, her friend Tara Clarke, and Ollie’s cousins Harry Hartley, 14, and brother George, 13, are doing a sponsored bike ride to raise money for the wheelchair.

They have organised the whole event themselves, and plan to cycle from Worthing to Brighton and back again on Saturday.

Ollie’s aunt, Georgina Pickford, 32, of Westcourt Road, said: “I am so proud of my nephews, niece and Tara for coming up with the idea themselves, and being so thoughtful.”

Emma, Georgina, and their sister Vicky Hartley, mum of Harry and George, will be holding pit-stops with refreshments for the youngsters along their cycle route.

They hope to raise £800 towards their £18,000 target, and are already planning other fund-raising activities.

Emma added: “Because the wheelchair costs so much, we are also submitting applications to charities in the hope they may be able to offer us some funds.

“Ollie and his physiotherapist Hazel Blake have both sent letters to say why this wheelchair is so important.”

Hazel, a senior paediatric physiotherapist at Worthing Hospital’s child development centre, said: “Oliver is a very sociable and bright boy, and he is fiercely independent. As he is becoming older and wanting to be more independent he really requires a chair that is more versatile in its ability to position him at different surfaces in a variety of environments.”

To sponsor the children’s fund-raising bike ride, contact Emma by emailing grpink@ntlworld.com.